Agriculture is a major driver of the ongoing biodiversity decline, demanding an urgent transition towards a system that reconciles productivity and profitability with nature conservation; however, where public policies promote such transitions are in place, their design often poorly fits the relevant biogeophysical systems, decreasing the policies’ expected effectiveness. Spatial scale mismatches are a primary example in this regard. The literature reviewed in this paper, drawing from both ecology and policy studies, suggests to foster policy implementation at the landscape scale, where most functional ecological processes—and the delivery of related ecosystem services—occur on farmland. Two strategies are identified for coordinating policy implementation at the landscape scale: the promotion of farmers’ collective action and the partition of space on an ecologically sound basis through spatial planning. As the new European Union Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) post-2023 is currently being defined, we assess if and how the draft agri-biodiversity legislation includes any of the strategies above. We find no comprehensive uptake of the landscape-scale perspective at the EU level, thereby suggesting that a powerful tool to overcome the CAP underperformance on biodiversity is being overlooked.
- EU common agricultural policy
- Ecosystem services
- Functional agri-biodiversity
- Landscape scale
- Spatial scale mismatch