Business and Biodiversity



MEA-Scope: Micro-economic instruments for impact assessment of multifunctional agriculture to implement the Model of European Agriculture

The MEA-Scope project aimed at developing an integrated framework for the assessment of the multifunctionality impacts of CAP reform options. This general objective developed the multifunctionality concept into an operational policy instrument within the overlapping paradigms of the Model of European Agriculture (MEA), and sustainable rural development.

The MEA-Scope project responded to urgent information needs at the European Community level on the reform processes of the agricultural sector. To meet these needs, the MEA-Scope consortium proposed to develop an integrated framework for the assessment of the multi­functionality impacts of CAP reform options.

The impact assessment framework consisted of three main components: a suitable multi­functionality concept, a tool for quantitative impact assessment, and operable knowledge on the socio-economic and environmental structures, namely on the joint production characteristics, that underlie the multifunctional provision of commodity and non-commodity outputs.

In detail, the objectives were to:

  • further develop the multifunctionality concept for European agriculture;
  • develop a quantitative tool for the assessment of multifunctionality impacts of CAP reform options;
  • answer policy-relevant questions for the implementation of the multifunctionality concept;
  • demonstrate the operability of the integrated assessment framework;
  • generate scientific knowledge on specific questions regarding the multifunctionality of agriculture, particularly with respect to spatial scale and regional differences.

ECNC was one of 11 partners from across the enlarged EU that participated in developing a better understanding of multifunctionality, and the contribution of this form of rural activity to sustaining the Model of European Agriculture (the ‘MEA’ in MEA-Scope). The consortium was led by ZALF (Centre for Agricultural Landscape and Land Use Research).

Time frame
MEA-Scope ran from August 2003 until December 2007.


MEA-Scope was an interdisciplinary and multinational project in which 11 partner institutions from 9 European countries worked together. The consortium was assembled from the Landscape Tomorrow European research network. Therefore, research cooperation was already established between most partners and experience in collaboration existed. Thirty-nine scientists brought their specific expertise in environmental, socio-economic and agronomic sciences to the diverse research tasks of the project.

Faculty of Agricultural Sciences (AGRSCI)

Agricultural and environmental engineering research centre (Cemagref)

Centre for Agricultural Landscape and Land Use Research (ZALF)

Institute of Agricultural Development in Central and Eastern Europe (IAMO)

Institute of Environmental Management

Research Institute for Hydrogeological Protection, Consiglio Nationale delle Recerche (IRPI)

Department of Agricultural and Land Economy, Florence University (DEART-UNIFI)

The Netherlands
ECNC-European Centre for Nature Conservation

Research Centre for Agriculture and Forest Environment

Slovak Republic
Soil Science and Conservation Research Institute (SSCRI)

Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL)


MEA-Scope was financed through the 6th Framework Programme for Research assisted by the EU, and ECNC participation benefited in part from co-financing by the Netherlands Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality.

The particular contribution of ECNC to the MEA-Scope project was to develop a set of indicators that served to represent the social, economic and environmental reality of multifunctional farming. The results of this research can be found in the MEA-Scope series of reports Volume 4: Indicators for the quantification of multifunctionality impacts, which can be found below.

Furthermore, ECNC also contributed to MEA-Scope Volume 1: Research Report on the Analytic Multifunctionality Framework. This publication can also be found below. For all the other publications of the MEA-Scope project, please go to