Title: High Nature Value Farmland and Traditional Agricultural Landscapes: Open Opportunities in the Development of Rural Areas
Publisher: KNNV Publishers
Publication Year: 2007
JRC N°: JRC37533
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC37533
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Agriculture is shaping most of the European landscapes. Its activities started about 8,000 years ago and spread until it reached its maximum extension and covered half of the European territory. This long history of agricultural land management has lead to the development of specific agro-ecosystems and associated biodiversity that can only be maintained under specific agricultural practices. The effects of such agricultural management cover a range of impacts. On the one hand land allocation, pesticides and fertilisers can deeply reshape the land and the distribution of flora and fauna, reducing species richness and abundance. On the other hand, the areas where traditional agriculture is persisting and the human impacts are less pronounced, are among those where the highest natural value is preserved. A consequence of the intensification trends that have characterised the development of agricultural practices during the 20th century and the evolution of many European landscapes is the shift of the main character of agricultural lands towards intensive farming, with a consequent reduction of the area hosting a high rate of biodiversity. The awareness of the decline of world (and particularly European) biodiversity has lead to policy actions at different levels aimed at preserving farming areas characterised by high nature value. The process started in the early 1990s and has lead firstly to the identification of the concept of High Nature Value farmland, and then to focused policy targets aimed at halting biodiversity loss in general and of endangered agro-ecosystems in particular. There is an implicit link between areas of high natural value and traditional agricultural landscapes, though the two concepts are not fully overlapping. This paper describes how these two concepts are related and how a first attempt to map High Nature Value farmland in EU27 has been carried out in order to support the policy action.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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