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European Permanent Grasslands: A Systematic Review of Economic Drivers of Change, Including a Detailed Analysis of the Czech Republic, Spain, Sweden, and UK

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sophie Tindale, Dr Novieta Sari, Professor Lynn FrewerORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2024 by the authors. Permanent grasslands (PG) feature in the European rural landscape and represent a major agricultural production resource. They support multiple non-provisioning ecosystem services (ES), including climate regulation, flood control, biodiversity, and pollination. PG are at risk of loss or degradation due to agricultural land use and land management changes. The objective of this systematic review is to identify the main economic influences shaping management and maintenance of PG, and the risks and opportunities for delivery of a range of ES. A total of 51 papers were included. Relevant policy interventions and economic drivers are identified in relation to how they shape the management of EU grasslands over time and across farming systems, countries, or biogeographic zones. A high reliance on public payments from the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), with uneven impact on mitigating PG losses and associated ES provisions, was identified, which needs to be considered in relation to ongoing CAP reform. There is a gap in the literature regarding economic tipping points for change. Future research needs to identify and map ES provisions by PG along with trade-offs and synergies, and link this to policy. There are substantive challenges to maintaining Europe’s PG area and management, which must be addressed through EU-wide instruments.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Elliott J, Tindale S, Outhwaite S, Nicholson F, Newell-Price P, Sari NH, Hunter E, Sanchez-Zamora P, Jin S, Gallardo-Cobos R, Miskolci S, Frewer LJ

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Land

Year: 2024

Volume: 13

Issue: 1

Online publication date: 21/01/2024

Acceptance date: 19/01/2024

ISSN (electronic): 2073-445X

Publisher: MDPI


DOI: 10.3390/land13010116