The concept of public goods provides a means of describing the environmental and social goods and services from agriculture and forestry that are not delivered through the market and therefore need alternative forms of support if they are demanded by society. IEEP created a framework to identify the main environmental public goods that are provided by agriculture in the EU (farmland biodiversity, cultural landscapes, high quality water, air and soil, a stable climate and resilience to fire and flooding). This has been used to demonstrate why it is necessary to integrate environmental objectives into policies influencing farming, forestry and rural development and to provide sufficient funding to deliver these polices on the scale required in the EU.

IEEP’s work explores the relationships between different farming systems, their associated practices and the provision of different types of public goods. We examine which CAP measures support public goods, and look at the ways in which the public goods provided may change under various future policy scenarios. Conceptually we are exploring the interactions between the concept of public goods and that of ecosystem services to provide a more integrated and holistic framework to inform policy design and implementation.