A team at CCRI, led by Jane Mills, and in collaboration with Exeter University and Natural England, have recently published a paper in Sustainability.  The paper titled ‘Developing Farm-Level Social Indicators for Agri-Environment Schemes: A Focus on the Agents of Change’ recognises that the social dimensions within agri-environment scheme monitoring and evaluation, particularly the socio-cultural factors that might influence the quality of engagement with the schemes and the social wellbeing impact of scheme engagement, is limited. This is considered a critical gap in knowledge as there is growing recognition that without more explicit consideration of the farmers involved in land management as agents of change, the required environmental improvements will not be achieved.  

Based on a systematic literature review and a short-listing ranking exercise with two sets of experts, the paper presents 20 high-level (composite) social indicators and associated sub-level (component) indicators that can be used to measure the level of farmers’ engagement with their scheme agreement and the social sustainability outcomes from participation. These indicators are already being adopted in the monitoring and evaluation of initiatives undertaken by Natural England and Environment Agency.  

The full reference for the article is:

Mills, J., Chiswell, H., Gaskell, P., Courtney, P., Brockett, B., Cusworth, G. and Lobley, M., 2021. Developing Farm-Level Social Indicators for Agri-Environment Schemes: A Focus on the Agents of Change. Sustainability, 13(14), p.7820.

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