The future of public goods provision in upland regions: Learning from hefted commons in the Lake District, UK
The nature of agriculture in Europe is changing. Problems with overproduction and environmental damage in the 1980s led to the adoption of the ‘public goods model’, by which farmers and landowners are encouraged to provide agri-environmental goods voluntarily in return for payments for income forgone (Falconer and Ward, 2000). For upland communities, this change could be particularly important. In terms of agricultural production, upland areas are often very poor (Caskie et al., 2001), as is evidenced from the high level of support through special compensatory payments such as the Hill Farm Allowance available in Less Favoured Areas. However, upland areas in the UK and across Europe are major suppliers of scenic and environmental public goods, with regions such as Dartmoor (Devon) and the Lake District (Cumbria) acting as ‘honey-pots’ for recreational and leisure tourism. Thus, the provision of public goods is currently the main economic rationale for supporting upland farmers.