Authors: H. Bachev, Doctor of Sciences (Economics), Professor, ORCID ID: 0000-0003-0555-7468
Institute of Agricultural Economics, Sofia, Bulgaria
G. Kharlamova, Doctor of Sciences (Economics), Associate Professor, ORCID ID: 0000-0003-3614-712X
Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Kyiv, Ukraine
Annotation: The products and the variety of direct and indirect benefits that humans receive from nature and the various ecosystems are commonly known as ecosystem services. Agricultural ecosystems of different types and their specific “agro-ecosystem” services are among the most widespread in the world. In recent years increasing attention is given to the system of (“good”) governance as a key to achieving public, collective, corporate, and private goals in relation to conservation and improvement of (agro)ecosystem services. Nevertheless, in Bulgaria, like in many other countries, there are few studies on the specific mechanisms, modes, factors, and efficiency of agro-ecosystem survives governance.
This article presents the initial results of a large-scale study on the governance of diverse ecosystem services in Bulgarian agriculture. Firstly, it identifies the type, amount, and importance of various ecosystem services maintained and “produced” by the Bulgarian farms. The study has found out that country’s farms provide a great number of essential ecosystem services among which provisioning food and feed, and conservation of elements of the natural environment prevail. Secondly, it identifies and assesses the efficiency and complementarities of specific modes and mechanisms of governance of ecosystem services used by agricultural holdings. The study has found out that a great variety of private, market, collective, public and hybrid modes of governance of farm activity related to agroecosystem services are applied. There is significant differentiation of employed managerial forms depending on the type of ecosystem services and the specialization of agricultural farms. Furthermore, the management of agroecosystem services is associated with a considerable increase in the production and transaction costs of participating farms as well as big socio-economic and environmental effects for agricultural holdings and other parties. The factors that mostly stimulate the activity of agricultural producers in Bulgaria for protection of (agro)ecosystems services are participation in public support programs, access to farmers’ advice, professional training, available information, and innovation received direct subsidies from the EU and national government, personal conviction and satisfaction, positive experience of others, long-term and immediate benefits for the farm, and integration with suppliers, buyers, and processors. The suggested holistic and interdisciplinary framework for analyzing the system of governance of agro-ecosystem services is to be further extended and improved, and more widely and periodically applied in the future. The latter requires systematic indepth multidisciplinary research in this new area, as well as the collection of original micro- and macro information on ecosystem survives, forms, efficiency, and factors of their management. The accuracy of analyzes is to be improved by increasing representativeness through enlarging the number of surveyed farms and related agents, applying statistical methods, special “training” of participants, etc. as well as improving the official system for collecting agricultural, agro-economic, and agrienvironmental information in the country.
Keywords: ecosystems, services, governance, efficiency, agriculture, farms
1st Revision: 03/12/2021
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