The alignment of agricultural and nature conservation policies in the European Union

Conservation Biology : the Journal of the Society for Conservation Biology
Ian HodgeAletta Bonn


Europe is a region of relatively high population density and productive agriculture subject to substantial government intervention under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Many habitats and species of high conservation interest have been created by the maintenance of agricultural practices over long periods. These practices are often no longer profitable, and nature conservation initiatives require government support to cover the cost for them to be continued. The CAP has been reformed both to reduce production of agricultural commodities at costs in excess of world prices and to establish incentives for landholders to adopt voluntary conservation measures. A separate nature conservation policy has established an extensive series of protected sites (Natura 2000) that has, as yet, failed to halt the loss of biodiversity. Additional broader scale approaches have been advocated for conservation in the wider landscape matrix, including the alignment of agricultural and nature conservation policies, which remains a challenge. Possibilities for alignment include further shifting of funds from general support for farmers toward targeted payments for biodiversity goals at larger scales and adoption of an ecosystem approach. The Euro...Continue Reading


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