Grasslands are essential for ecosystem service provision in agricultural landscapes. In Europe, grassland shares have dropped drastically over the last decades. Different regulatory and incentive-based measures have addressed this issue, e.g., the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Additionally, national regulations are in place. In Germany, the states have a strong say in shaping policies, making them a relevant showcase for assessing the impact of different elements of a policy mix. Our study compares temporal development and spatial differentiation of grassland-related policies with data on implementation for 16 years (2005–2020) for the State of Bavaria, Germany. We classified grassland-cropland dynamics based on high-resolution data (IACS data), with information on agri-environmental schemes (AES), and intersected them with geodata (special grassland status). Our results highlight that subsidy law dominated the timeline of policy changes, and years of land use conversions temporally correlated with CAP-related changes. All 13 considered area types with a special legal grassland status showed reduced permanent grassland conversion (with strongly differing conversion rates). In some cases, participation in AES correlated with an additional reduction in conversion. Future policy choices could better harmonize the use of regulatory and incentive-based policy instruments and should consider announcement and avoidance effects.

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