Agri-environmental diversification: linking environmental, forestry and renewable energy engagement on Scottish farms

L-A Sutherland, L Toma, AP Barnes, KB Matthews, J Hopkins

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36 Citations (Scopus)
35 Downloads (Pure)


In this paper we broaden the debate on agri-environmental scheme participation to include farm woodland expansion and renewable energy production, developing a conceptualisation of ‘agri-environmental diversification’. Utilising structural equation modelling, we assess a telephone survey of 2416 Scottish farmers, undertaken in 2013. Findings demonstrate the path dependencies of farming participants, with those already engaged in each of these activities the most likely to plan to be involved in future. Similar factors have influenced the uptake of all three activities since 2005, and intention to increase involvement by 2020. Farmers who are: younger, better educated, information-seeking, certified as organic, receive subsidies, have non-farming income and plan to continue farming in the medium term, are more likely to plan for future engagement in the three activities. Environmental attitudes are also important, but a stronger relationship was found between observation of environmental gains from agri-environmental schemes and the three forms of agri-environmental diversification, suggesting that scheme involvement enables farmers to learn to produce, recognise and value environmental goods. We argue that when assessed within the broader perspective of agri-environmental diversification, agri-environmental scheme participation may represent an initial step on a farming trajectory that involves multiple forms of agri-environmental engagement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10 - 20
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
Issue numberA
Early online date30 Jul 2016
Publication statusFirst published - 30 Jul 2016

Bibliographical note



  • Agri-environmental schemes
  • Farm household adjustment
  • Multifunctionality
  • Post-productivism
  • Single Farm Payment


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