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    Assessing alternative policy tools for encouraging farm afforestation in Ireland
    To encourage Irish farmers to afforest agricultural land, a premium scheme supporting such planting was implemented in 1989 and afforestation targets outlined in 1996. In the period from 1996 to 2009, however, only half of the targeted area was planted although the income of many farmers would have improved on joining the scheme. A multi-method study was undertaken looking at farmers' decision-making with regard to afforestation under the scheme. In this paper we focus on one particular element of the study, which is about identifying policy tools that best match farmers' behaviour with regard to afforestation. Based on previous work, which we undertook on farmers' goals and values with regard to afforestation and which was presented in this journal, a postal survey was designed and distributed in spring 2012 to farmers all over Ireland. The results indicate that the majority of those surveyed do not make their decision to afforest based on profit maximisation goals. Offering only an incentive tool - such as the current premium scheme - will not be sufficient to encourage those farmers to plant trees. Additionally capacity tools such as group plantings of neighbouring fields and symbolic tools such as information and PR- or image-building campaign should be deployed to further encourage afforestation by farmers.
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