Adding Some Green to the Greening: Improving the EU’s Ecological Focus Areas for Biodiversity and Farmers

Pe'er, Guy; Zinngrebe, Yves; Hauck, Jennifer; Schindler, Stefan; Dittrich, Andreas; Zingg, Silvia; Tscharntke, Teja; Oppermann, Rainer; Sutcliffe, Laura M.E.; Sirami, Clélia; Schmidt, Jenny; Hoyer, Christian; Schleyer, Christian; Lakner, Sebastian (2017). Adding Some Green to the Greening: Improving the EU’s Ecological Focus Areas for Biodiversity and Farmers. Conservation letters, 10(5), pp. 517-530. Wiley 10.1111/conl.12333

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Ecological Focus Areas (EFAs) are one of the three new greening measures
of the European Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). We used an interdisciplinary
and European-scale approach to evaluate ecological effectiveness and
farmers’ perception of the different EFA options. We assessed potential benefits
of EFA options for biodiversity using a survey among 88 ecologists from 17
European countries. We further analyzed data on EFA uptake at the EU level
and in eight EU Member States, and reviewed socio-economic factors influencing
farmers’ decisions. We then identified possible ways to improve EFAs.
Ecologists scored field margins, buffer strips, fallow land, and landscape features
as most beneficial whereas farmers mostly implemented “catch crops and
green cover,” nitrogen-fixing crops, and fallow land. Based on the expert inputs
and a review of the factors influencing farmers’ decisions, we suggest that
EFA implementation could be improved by (a) prioritizing EFA options that
promote biodiversity (e.g., reducing the weight or even excluding ineffective
options); (b) reducing administrative constraints; (c) setting stricter management
requirements (e.g., limiting agrochemical use); and (d) offering further
incentives for expanding options like landscape features and buffer strips. We
finally propose further improvements at the next CAP reform, to improve ecological effectiveness and cost-effectiveness.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Review Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE)
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE) > Conservation Biology

UniBE Contributor:

Zingg, Silvia

Subjects:

500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology

ISSN:

1755-263X

Publisher:

Wiley

Language:

English

Submitter:

Olivier Roth

Date Deposited:

18 Apr 2018 09:26

Last Modified:

14 Sep 2020 12:03

Publisher DOI:

10.1111/conl.12333

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.111264

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/111264

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