This study is the first to estimate the effect of Agri-Environmental Schemes (AES) on
nutrient leaching using abatement data and water samples on a large scale. This unique
combination of data sources identifies all farms located upstream from a given water
By using watersheds that cover 91% of the Swedish land area and AES
payments to 83% of Swedish farms, the study is almost a full population evaluation. A
watershed fixed-effect model estimates whether within-watershed variation in AES
payments affects nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations in water samples.
period 1997-2013, the study finds that higher uptake of the AES Wetland, Catch
crop/No autumn tillage, Environmental protection measures and Culturally significant
landscape elements was associated with reduced nutrient leaching. However, uptake of
Grassed buffer zones, Pastures and meadows and Organic production was associated
with increased nutrient leaching.