Modes of Governance of Ecosystem Services
Institute of Agricultural Economics
October 9, 2009
The IUP Journal of Governance and Public Policy, Vol. 4 Nos. 3 & 4, pp. 77-104, September & December 2009
In this paper, we incorporate interdisciplinary New Institutional and Transaction Costs Economics and suggest a framework for analysis of mechanisms of governance of agro-ecosystem services. Firstly, we present a new approach for analysis and improvement of governance of agro-ecosystem services. It takes into account the role of specific institutional environment; behavioural characteristics of individual agents; transactions costs associated with ecosystem services and their critical factors; and comparative efficiency of market, private, public and hybrid modes of governance. Secondly, we identify a spectrum of market and private forms of governance of agro-ecosystem services, and evaluate their efficiency and potential. Next, we identify needs for public involvement in the governance of agro-ecosystem services, and assess comparative efficiency of alternative modes of public interventions. Finally, we analyse structure and efficiency of governance of agro-ecosystems services in Zapadna Stara Planina (ZSP) -a mountainous region in North-West Bulgaria. Post-communist transition and European Union (EU) integration has brought about significant changes in the state and governance of agro-ecosystem services. Newly evolved market, private and public governance have led to significant improvement of part of agro-ecosystem services introducing modern eco-standards and public support, enhancing environmental stewardship, deintensifying production, recovering landscape and traditional productions, diversifying quality, products, and services. At the same time, novel governance is associated with some new challenges, such as unsustainable exploitation, lost biodiversity, land degradation, water and air contamination. What is more, implementation of EU common policies would have no desired impact on agro-ecosystem services unless special measures are taken to improve management of public programmes, and extend public support to major small-scale and subsistence farms.
Keywords: Agro-Ecosystem Services, Market, Private, Public and Hybrid Governance, Bulgaria
Date posted: October 12, 2009
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