Title: Analysis of Farmland Abandonment and the Extent and Location of Agricultural Areas that are Actually Abandoned or are in Risk to be Abandoned
Publisher: OPOCE
Publication Year: 2008
JRC N°: JRC46185
ISSN: 1018-5593
Other Identifiers: EUR 23411 EN
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC46185
Type: EUR - Scientific and Technical Research Reports
Abstract: Farmland abandonment (FLA) can be defined as the cessation of agricultural activities on a given surface of land and not taken by another activity (such as urbanisation or afforestation). This process attracts the attention of policy-makers both at national and EU level, in particular within the context of the Rural Development Policy. And, considering its importance in environmental and socio-economic terms, it is necessary to better understand the geographic distribution and strength of farmland abandonment trends in the EU-27, and to develop indicators to identify the most important farmland abandonment tendencies. The first aim of this study was to establish the state of the art concerning farmland abandonment (definition, type) and methodologies for identifying/quantifying this phenomenon (dataset, period of analysis, scale). Then, it was about contributing to a new definition of Less Favoured Areas by assessing the driving forces of farmland abandonment and preparing the guidelines for agri-environmental indicator Nr 14 [COM2006 (508final)] by evaluating the state and risk of farmland abandonment. The proposed methodology was based on two main elements: the variation of the UAA and the definition of rural areas. After identifying clear definitions for each variable, the way to consider the main flows of land use changes was studied. Due to a lack of accurate data at the appropriate scale, farmland afforestation could not be separated from the flow of FLA and the flow from farmland to sealed soil was estimated based on the hypothesis that it was mainly located in urban areas where the population density is high or increases very fast. The methodology was tested in three of the main agricultural countries in the EU-27 in terms of surface (France, Spain and Poland). Then, five regions were chosen to cover different contexts where a high level of FLA was observed and interviews of experts and stakeholders completed the study. Based on the results on the main causes of FLA, indicators of risk were proposed and recommendations were formulated to improve the methodology and datasets.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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