Project duration: 
Sep 2019 to Aug 2023

New Horizon 2020 project BESTMAP will provide improved tools to European policymakers for predicting the result of future EU agriculture policies, taking account of farmers’ needs and effectively monitor policy impacts on natural, social and cultural assets in rural areas.


Nearly 50% of the European Union (EU) land area is agricultural. However, the ecosystem services (ESS) provided by these agro-ecosystems – including food, bioenergy, water, carbon storage and biodiversity – are threatened by processes such as land-use intensification and changing climate. European, national and regional policy makers must hence rethink and redesign rural policy to enhance the sustainability of agricultural landscapes while ensuring farmers’ livelihoods at the same time. However, the policy impact assessment models currently used by the European Commission (EC) ignore the complexity of farmers’ decision making, potentially leading to incorrect predictions of policy outcomes. Furthermore, existing models focus on narrow aspects of agricultural economics (e.g. income), ignoring policy impacts on rural natural, social and cultural assets. 

BESTMAP will develop a new modelling framework using insights from behavioural theory, linking existing economic modelling with individual-farm Agent-Based Models. Using these new modular and customizable tools BESTMAP will quantitatively model, map and monitor co-designed policy scenarios’ impacts on the environment, climate system, delivery of ESS, as well as socio-economic metrics (e.g. jobs). BESTMAP outputs will improve and contribute to existing tools used by the EC such as the Modular Applied GeNeral Equilibrium Tool (MAGNET) and Common Agricultural Policy Regionalised Impact model (CAPRI). Finally, BESTMAP will use a range of external communication and dissemination methods, including online policy dashboard, workshops and training, to help build capacity for EC staff and policy makers at EU institutions, national, regional and local decision makers and expert personnel, as well as other researchers.


CREAF is mainly responsible for the co-design of the tools supporting the policy implementation in five case studies (one of them in Catalonia), the policy indicator selection, and the visual presentation of the models results in a dashboard. CREAF is also colaborating in defining the technical architecture of the project.