More specialised variants of ELS are available for organic farming and severely disadvantaged areas in the uplands. Although management measures in ELS have been demonstrated to benefit pollinators, such as nectar flower mixes and low input pastureland (Scheper et al. 2013), payments for ELS are fixed regardless of the combination of CP673451 order options used to qualify and therefore uptake has typically been biased towards lower PF-02341066 solubility dmso cost, often opportunistic options (e.g. low frequency hedge cutting), that are thought to be less beneficial to biodiversity (Sutherland 2009; Hodge and Reader 2010). Furthermore, much of this uptake has been in low
productivity areas where AES are thought to be less beneficial due to high existing habitat diversity (Hodge and Reader 2010; Scheper et al. 2013; Cloither 2013). Like all AES, the monitoring of ELS is limited by its budget, allowing for potentially high levels of poor or false implementation (Kleijn and Sutherland 2003) and can vary strongly in their effectiveness
between scheme designs (Kleijn et al. 2006). Recently accepted reforms to CAP include a greening requirement in order to claim the full value of subsidies. This includes a mandatory 5 % of land to be designated as ecological focus areas, comprised of a combination of hedges, trees, fallow land, grassland maintenance and low input margins (European Commission 2013). Although this may result in ELS being replaced or radically overhauled, there is still a need to appraise benefits of the current management options under the scheme in order to better inform potential successors. Whilst evidence exists selleck screening library to suggest ELS options can improve the quality of insect pollinator habitats (Kleijn et al. 2006; Potts et al. 2009; Pywell et al. 2011), the
benefits of most options remain unknown, and are likely to remain so given the significant Dimethyl sulfoxide investment and time in conducting robust empirical studies. Furthermore, although economic valuations of pollination services have been used to justify expenditure on mitigation efforts, to date only one study has compared these benefits to any costs of conservation actions (Cook et al. 2007). The purpose of this study is therefore twofold; first, to provide a simple appraisal of the relative benefits of all ELS options to providing good quality pollinator habitat. Secondly this study provides an estimate of the cost in adapting the currently utilised ELS area towards pollinator conservation provision by redistributing the current national mix of ELS options towards one reflective of the relative benefits to insect pollinator habitat. Methods This study focuses upon the entry level stewardship (ELS) as it is both very widespread, incorporating 5 M ha of English Farmland (Natural England 2013a), and has many options that are applicable to other UK and European agri-environment schemes (AES).