Reconciling Agriculture and Biodiversity in European Public Policies: A Bio-Economic Perspective
Agriculture has been identified as a major driver of the current significant changes in farmland biodiversity. Taking into account these environmental impacts, agriculture today aims at a more sustainable way of producing that would reconcile its economic and ecological functions. A new approach based on bio-economic modelling has been recently developed to explore different facets of such reconciliation and understand how to promote sustainable agricultural public policies. In this paper, we review the contributions of such approach. The review shows that it is possible to reconcile agriculture and biodiversity with public policies, in the way of it is possible to increase simultaneously the economic and ecological performances of agricultural landscapes compared to the current trends. However, it is not possible to optimize this reconciliation: the different criteria cannot be maximized simultaneously, and some trade-offs emerge between economic and ecological criteria in optimality. To go further, some bio-economic studies open new perspectives. For example, they suggest studying the society as a whole instead of focussing on the agricultural sector, or to go beyond the concept of optimality by stressing the idea of viability. In addition to reforming the current agricultural policies, deeper debates about the notion of sustainability have to be held.