Impacts of selected Ecological Focus Area options in European farmed landscapes on climate regulation and pollination services: a systematic map protocol
This systematic map protocol responds to an urgent policy need to evaluate key environmental benefits of new compulsory greening measures in the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), with the aim of building a policy better linked to environmental performance. The systematic map will focus on Ecological Focus Areas (EFAs), in which larger arable farmers must dedicate 5% of their arable land to ecologically beneficial habitats, landscape features and land uses. The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre has used a software tool called the ‘EFA calculator’ to inform the European Commission about environmental benefits of EFA implementation. However, there are gaps in the EFA calculator’s coverage of ecosystem services, especially ‘global climate regulation’, and an opportunity to use systematic mapping methods to enhance its capture of evidence, in advance of forthcoming CAP reforms. We describe a method for assembling a database of relevant, peer-reviewed research conducted in all agricultural landscapes in Europe and neighbouring countries with similar biogeography, addressing the primary question: what are the impacts of selected EFA features in agricultural land on two policy-relevant ecosystem service outcomes—global climate regulation and pollination? The method is streamlined to allow results in good time for the current, time-limited opportunity to influence reforms of the CAP greening measures at European and Member State level.
We will search four bibliographic databases in English, using a predefined and tested search string that focuses on a subset of EFA options and ecosystem service outcomes. The options and outcomes are selected as those with particular policy relevance and traction. Only articles in English will be included. We will screen search results at title, abstract and full text levels, recording the number of studies deemed non-relevant (with reasons at full text). A systematic map database that displays the meta-data (i.e. descriptive summary information about settings and methods) of relevant studies will be produced following full text assessment. The systematic map database will be published as a MS-Excel database. The nature and extent of the evidence base will be discussed, and the applicability of methods to convert the available evidence into EFA calculator scores will be assessed.
Agriculture, Ecosystem services, Greening measures, Common Agricultural Policy, Landscape, Habitat, Greenhouse gas, Carbon, Pollinators