Nature and Society


Farmers and the environment (BioFact)

The protection and sustainable management of biodiversity are important in European agricultural practice. In order for farming practices to change, cooperation of farmers is vital. Experience in many European countries showed that the willingness of farmers to cooperate can vary greatly from case to case, and cannot be taken for granted.

The overall aim of the BioFact project was to contribute to the likelihood that farmers will cooperate with national and international biodiversity policies that cover farming practice.

The overall objective was to unite and integrate scientific results from a range of social science disciplines in the analysis of farmers’ willingness and ability to cooperate with biodiversity policies. The specific project objectives were:
  • to create an overview of the current state of knowledge on factors that affect the willingness and/or ability of farmers to cooperate with biodiversity policies;
  • to identify possible differences and variations between European countries;
  • to analyse to what extent available knowledge is integrated into policymaking at a national and international level;
  • to produce recommendations based on the above analysis;
  • to identify possible gaps in knowledge and set priorities for future research;
  • to promote interaction between researchers and policymakers.


  • Central European University, Hungary
  • Agricultural Economics Research Institute, the Netherlands
  • Institute for Agricultural and Food Research, Spain
  • University of Jyvãskylã, Finland
  • Centre for Agricultural Landscape and Land Use Research, Germany
  • University of Central Lancashire, United Kingdom

Expert Committee
An Expert Committee oversaw the project in order to guarantee that all project activities met the highest standards of quality. The Committee consisted of three scientists and experts in the fields of the project’s concern and two senior policymakers with expertise in the field of developing and implementing agricultural biodiversity policy. The Expert Committee was involved in consultation processes on all major deliverables of the project. They also concentrated on the monitoring of scientific quality, methodological accuracy and validity of results.  


The BioFact project was financed by the European Commission under the theme, 'Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources' of the EC-Fifth Framework Programme for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration Activities.


  • Policy recommendations for generating cooperation from farmers on national and international biodiversity policies.
  • Overview of current state of knowledge concerning factors that affect farmers' cooperation with biodiversity policies.
  • Framework for stakeholder analysis, indicating relevant factors to be analysed when aiming to generate support from farmers.
  • Checklist of policy instruments and strategies that may influence the factors identified above.
  • Project website.
  • Project handbook.
  • Project workshop.

You can download a pdf version of the final project report 'Farmers and the environment: assessing the factors that affect farmers' willingness and ability to cooperate with biodiversity policies'. A pdf version of the BioFact workshop proceedings can be downloaded below.