Project details

Development of a common generic methodology for evaluating the effectiveness of European agri-environmental schemes – AE-Footprint

AE-FOOTPRINT will investigate and develop a common methodology and tools to assess the environmental performance of agri-environmental schemes (AESs), which can be customised to include locally-specific AES objectives. The methodology centres on the construction of an Agri-environmental Footprint Index (AFI) that can be used to measure and compare environmental impacts of AESs by aggregating the measurement of a selected range of agri-environmental indicators.

A series of tasks will be conducted to support the development of the AFI.

  • A desk-based review will identify agri-environmental objectives that are common, shared or unique across a representative selection of EU Member States; agri-environmental indicators will then be selected that correspond to these various objectives;
  • Consultations with national AES experts and stakeholders will allocate weighting factors to individual objectives;
  • Differences in weighting factors will therefore reflect the relative priority of national-/regional-level objectives. In this way, customisation of the AFI can be achieved. Consultation exercises will be an important opportunity to engage with and inform a variety of stakeholders, policymakers and implementation agencies.

We will assess the availability and utility of existing information-gathering exercises and their data sets, e.g. national and EU-wide farm surveys. A feasibility analysis of the AFI will identify and prioritise any information gaps, and consider the benefits of alternative methods of implementing the AFI. We will use available data for appropriate indicators to calculate AFI scores to measure and compare the environmental performance of AES-participating and non-participating farms. AE-FOOTPRINT will also explore the use of the AFI as a wider policy tool for the assessment of environmental characteristics of different farming systems.

The project is coordinated by the Centre for Agri-Environmental Research, School of Agriculture Policy and Development, University of Reading (UK). The IfLS will lead Work Package (WP) 6, the assessment of the availability of indicator data and identification of information gaps.

Other partners are the Department of Environmental Resource Management, National University of Ireland, Dublin; TEAGASC Environmental Research Centre, Johnstown Castle, Wexford (IRL); Danish Centre for Forest, Landscape and Planning, Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University (DK); Institute of Environment and Landscape Management, Szent Istvan University (HUN); Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, Agricultural University of Athens (GR); and Economic Research, MTT Agrifood Research (FIN).

For more information see the project website: AE footprint-Website


Project no.: 



Research | Agricultural policy |


European Commission, Directorate-General for Research


2005 - 2008

Contact person/s at IfLS: 

Simone Sterly