Natura 2000 is the centerpiece of the European Union nature & biodiversity policy. Is the largest network of protected areas in the world. The aim of the network is to assure the long-term survival of Europe's most valuable and threatened species and habitats.
Farmers’ key role in protecting Europe’s biodiversity
The European Commission is committed to halting biodiversity loss in Europe by 2020. Currently, almost a quarter of all species are threatened with extinction. With farmland accounting for almost half of EU territory, greater sustainability in agriculture is one of the six key targets of the Commission’s biodiversity strategy. New subsidies for mandatory green practices to be included in the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reforms to be released on 12 October put into practice measures to achieve this aim.
A new video news release explores the important role that farmers can play in safeguarding and encouraging biodiversity, alongside other European biodiversity issues.
The footage includes:
· Farming in Spain: an NGO in the Valencian Community promotes biodiversity corridors and the conservation of a wide variety of local species of fruit, vegetables and livestock.
· Farming in Belgium: a successful sheep farm combines good business with sustainable practices.
· Interview with Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik on the importance of farmers and the CAP reforms for protecting biodiversity.
· Footage of the natural heritage of Europe and species at risk: European Red Lists (to be released by the International Union for Conservation of Nature in November) will review the conservation status of roughly 6,000 species of freshwater fishes, plants and molluscs.
On biodiversity and the CAP
“[W]e want to address this issue of how we can help farmers so that if they protect biodiversity this would be considered as a kind of public good and they would, of course, be paid for that kind of activity.” Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for Environment
On biodiversity-friendly agricultural practices
“The possibility of cultivating small areas helps to increase the number of species able to survive there. All the borders built between these zones have created ‘biodiversity corridors’ which favour plant and animal species.” Dunia Casino Herrera, biologist.
Further background information
Preserving biodiversity is not only beneficial for individual plants, animals or habitats, but also has much wider implications for our economy and society. Some economic forecasts have predicted that investing in biodiversity could be worth no less than two trillion dollars (1.5 trillion euros) annually by 2050.
The European Commission’s biodiversity strategy highlights six key areas in efforts to halt biodiversity loss and the degradation of ecosystems by 2020:
· enhancing the implementation of European nature legislation;
· restoring degraded ecosystems;
· ensuring sustainable farming and forestry practices;
· ensuring sustainable fishery practices;
· combating invasive species; and,
· contributing to the protection of global biodiversity (under the agreement reached at the 10th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, in Nagoya in 2010).
Proposed CAP reforms:
The subsidies for mandatory green practices will be made for annual actions linked to agriculture such as crop diversification, maintenance of permanent grassland and ecological focus areas.