Collaborative governance arrangements to deliver spatially coordinated agri-environmental management

Judith Westerink*, Roel Jongeneel, Nico Polman, Katrin Prager, Jeremy Franks, Pierre Dupraz, Evy Mettepenningen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Citations (Scopus)


Several studies show that agri-environment schemes (AES) are likely to be more effective if they are designed at the landscape scale. However, this requires spatial coordination of environmental management across multiple farm holdings and collaboration among governmental and other actors, including, possibly, groups of farmers. In this study we analyse alternative approaches to spatial coordination and collaboration. Through case studies from five EU member states in North West Europe we analysed collaborative governance arrangements, from the perspective of the distribution of governance tasks among collaborating actors and changes to these over time. Of these governance tasks, spatial coordination had our particular interest. The collaborative governance arrangements were shaped in various ways. In four out of five case studies a group of farmers had become involved in the performance of more governance tasks over time. In all cases a professional(ized) organisation (governmental organisation or a group of farmers) was responsible for spatial coordination, possibly due to the complexities inherent to a landscape approach. In relation to the change of schemes over time, we argue that adaptive collaborative governance, incorporating learning, monitoring and evaluation in the governance arrangements, is key to effective agri-environmental management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)176-192
Number of pages17
JournalLand Use Policy
Early online date20 Sept 2017
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017

Bibliographical note

The writing of this article was funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs through the programme Beleidsondersteunend Onderzoek. Some of Katrin Prager's writing time was funded through the Scottish Governments Strategic Research Programme 2016-2021. We are grateful to Paul Terwan for commenting on the WLD case study, and to all the stakeholders that provided the information that formed the basis for this analysis. We would like to thank the anonymous reviewers whose comments helped to improve the manuscript.


  • Agri-environment schemes
  • Landscape approach
  • Farmer groups
  • Cooperation
  • Adaptive governance
  • LAND


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