Title: Implementing Policies for Soil and Water Conservation in European Union Agriculture
Authors: LOUWAGIE GeertruiKUTTER ThomasSCHULER JohannesHELMING KatharinaGAY StephanPRAGER Katrin
Publisher: Nova Science Publishers
Publication Year: 2010
JRC N°: JRC56230
ISBN: 978-1-61728-957-6
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC56230
Type: Articles in books
Abstract: European Union policies relevant to the environment evolved from addressing a single concern and environmental component, often restricted to target areas, to overarching policies, addressing different aspects of the same environmental domain or even including policies with multiple objectives. Under the first generation, some directives directly regulate the discharge of (potentially) harmful substances into water and soil, whereas others target biotic resources, but have nevertheless positive implications for soil and water. Along with these developments, some environmental provisions were incorporated into the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Since the 1990s, coinciding with the introduction and development of the EU Treaty, the environmental scope has been widened from protecting the environment against negative externalities to maintaining and even improving environmental quality. The Water Framework Directive and the proposed Soil Framework Directive are examples of overarching policies that bring together, and fill gaps in the existing suite of policies. Alongside, the CAP integrated existing policies (statutory management requirements) and (further) developed a range of provisions for environmental quality. Under cross compliance rules, farmers¿ receipt of the single farm payment and payments for eight rural development measures are conditional on their compliance with a set of standards, some of which are environmental. The requirement to keep land in good agricultural and environmental condition for example directly targets aspects of soil and water quality. Despite variations and difficulties, early signs about the overall effectiveness of cross compliance have been positive. In general, cross compliance has increased farmers¿ awareness of soil degradation, as well as the environmental reasons for introducing standards to prevent it. Rural development policy offers options to the member states or regions for encouraging farmers to go beyond the reference level of soil and water quality (established by the cross compliance standards). Agri-environment payments in particular enable direct targeting of soil and water aspects. Evaluation of their effectiveness has so far been piece-meal, as details on the effect of farming practices on specific soil degradation processes can only be obtained at the level of policy implementation. Results of a cross-policy survey on implementation of EU, national and regional policies for soil and water conservation are presented. However, information on policy implementation for soil and water conservation in the European Union remains fragmented.
JRC Institute:Institute for Prospective Technological Studies

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