Title: Assessing the risk of farmland abandonment in the EU
Publisher: Publications Office of the European Union
Publication Year: 2013
JRC N°: JRC78131
ISBN: 978-92-79-28281-2
ISSN: 1831-9424
Other Identifiers: EUR 25783
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC78131
DOI: 10.2788/81337
Type: EUR - Scientific and Technical Research Reports
Abstract: An expert panel of European scientists in fields related to land abandonment (bio-physical / land suitability, farm structure, farm economics, land market, regional development, socio and economic factors in rural areas) were tasked to identify main drivers of farmland abandonment in Europe. Two sets of criteria for assessing the risk have been suggested: Low farm stability and viability was estimated through drivers on ‘low farm income’ (D2), ‘lack of investments on the farm’ (D3), ‘farm-holder’s age’ (D4), ‘farm manager qualifications’ (D5), ‘low farm size’ (D8), ‘commitments taken by farmers in specific management scheme’ (D9). Negative regional context was estimated through indicators on ‘weak land market’ (D1), ‘low population density and remoteness’ from market opportunities and services (D7). Each of these drivers was calculated individually; an assessment was done to provide relevance and robustness of results, corresponding maps were produced. The results suggested a first group of powerful drivers (policy relevance, analytical soundness, data availability and robustness) composed of: ‘weak land market’ (D1), ‘low farm income’ (D2), ‘low density population and remoteness’ (D7). The second group of drivers with ‘lack of investments on the farm’ (D3) and ‘farm-holder’s age’ (D4) were policy relevant but reliability was lower when using European datasets. The third group of drivers (‘farm manager qualifications’ (D5), ‘low farm size’ (D8), and ‘commitments taken by farmers in specific management scheme’ (D9)) showed some deficiencies in analytical soundness and/or data reliability. They were not further used in the analysis. In order to produce a risk indicator of ‘farmland abandonment’, composite indices were developed based on Principal Component Analysis carried-out on the normalised values of the individual drivers. The normalisation procedure was performed at two different levels: (a) EU27 level as an attempt to elaborate a risk index covering EU27 in an homogeneous manner; and (b) MS level. For the composite indices, further analysis was done at NUTS2 level to relate those flagged with higher risk to the holding’s farm-types. It results that extensive and traditional farming systems with high proportions of permanent crops or permanent grasslands are the most frequent farm-types found in NUTS2 at risk.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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