Agri-environmental measures are applied on 80% of the farmland in Estonia. Nonetheless, as an Eastern European country, the history of intensification is shorter than in Western Europe and yield gaps mean that the pressure for intensification is still high. There are various land management measures that can relieve pressure on the environment, but the factors that trigger the adoption of such changes is unclear.
This study analyses survey data on Estonian farmers. It concludes that farmers are more concerned about soil fertility issues than with wider environmental issues. By analysing the implementation of various farmland management measures, we conclude that general environmental awareness is playing a crucial role in the adoption, specifically these where link to private benefits is not so straightforward, i.e. biodiversity issues.
Raising environmental awareness about land management measures that are beneficial for biodiversity deserves more attention by the policy makers and relevant agencies. The farmers who regard environmental issues as more important are also the ones who are more likely to implement environmentally beneficial land management measures.