PAULa agri-environment schemes
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The PAULa scheme’s support for species-rich grasslands from Rheinland-Pfalz represents good practice in its approach to implementing a Results-Based Agri-environment Payment Scheme (RBAPS).
One new and emerging approach involves funding for on-farm nature conservation work through RDP schemes that focus on paying for the results achieved and letting the farmers decide how best such outcomes can delivered. Germany has been at the forefront of pioneering results-based agri-environment methods. The ‘PAULa’ scheme’s support for species-rich grasslands from Rheinland-Pfalz (in western/south western Germany) represents good practice in its approach to RBAPS implementation. Based on the occurrence of at least 4 or 8 key species it includes two results-based schemes for species-rich grassland. The species that must be present on farmland under these schemes are listed in a catalogue of key species and results are measured against the key species that are present. There is a list of prohibited actions and the farmer must keep an annual record of management activities and of the results of species monitoring. The schemes require grazing and/or mowing at least once a year – although the timing for these activities is not prescribed.
There is increasing interest in both these schemes from farmers and by 2014 they covered around 1 800 hectares.
The results of vegetation monitoring between 2008 and 2012 showed an increase in species-richness on the plots managed under the results-based scheme.
The evaluation showed high species-richness in these schemes compared to ‘normal’ grassland.
The plots in the results-based scheme show a greater increase in species-richness compared to other management-based agri-environment schemes were species-richness also increased.