2019-07-19Diskussionspapier DOI: 10.18452/20221
Farm eco-efficiency: can sustainable intensification make the difference?
Sustainable intensification measures promise ecological improvements of farming while maintaining profitability. That is, farms should be able to produce at a higher ecological efficiency without losses in economic efficiency. Based on a theoretical framework, we investigate this promise empirically by analysing the environmental improvement potential of sustainable intensification. We thereby focus on quantifying biodiversity gains using a directional meta-frontier approach and farm survey data from the northern German Plain. We compare eco-efficiency scores in an ecological direction between adopters and matched non-adopters to identify the causal relationship between these gains and sustainable intensification. We find that adopters determine the system frontier. Despite higher mean eco-efficiency scores, most adopters do not yet fully exploit the potential of ecological improvements through sustainable intensification.