Environmental Engineering Reference
In-Depth Information
considered to be of 'high nature value' (Beaufoy et al. 1994 ; Anger et al. 2002 ;
Bignal and McCracken 1996 ; de Miguel 1999 ; Nagy 2002 and Andersen et al.
2003) . One of the first reports showing a more or less EU wide overview was
“The Nature of Farming” published in 1994. It discusses case studies of livestock,
cereal, permanent crop and mixed systems which were of significance for nature
conservation (Beaufoy et al. 1994) . This proceeded by ancillary studies and
interpretative papers (Beaufoy et al. 1994 ; Bignal and McCracken 1996, 2000 and
Andersen et al. 2003) . The continuation of the extensive grassland management is
very important for the maintenance of associated biodiversity value (e.g. Anger
et al. 2002 ; Bignal and McCracken 1996 ; de Miguel 1999 ; Nagy 2002) . It is also
estimated that approximately 16% of the habitats in Natura 2000 areas depend on
a continuation of extensive farming. 1
In response to the major influence agriculture has on the environment, the CAP
gradually integrated environmental considerations. The McSharry reforms of the
Policy CAP in 1992 led to the implementation of the first Agri-environmental
Regulation (EEC 2078/92). Also codes of 'Good Farming Practices (GFP)', i.e.
agricultural production methods compatible with the requirements of the protection
of the environment and the maintenance of the countryside are being promoted
though the CAP. The Nitrates Directive 91/676/EC, approved in 1991, requires
Member States to identify, specify and encourage farmers to apply so-called 'Good
Agricultural Practices (GAP)' for use of animal manure and fertilizer. The prospect
of enlargement of the European Union (EU) to the Central and Eastern European
countries and the continuing pressure for trade liberalisation stimulated even a further
reform of the CAP and the further integration of environmental considerations into
EU policy. It resulted in the 1996 Cork Declaration which placed sustainable rural
development at the top of the EU agenda. Recently, the objectives of the agricultural
policies have been changed, which resulted in the further broadening of the CAP
towards environment, landscape and rural viability (Commission of the European
Communities 2003) . The support has been further decoupled from production with the
2003 reform of the CAP. Cross compliance has been introduced as an enforcement
mechanism for EU standards for good farming practices and a larger share of the
support will be targeted to rural development.
Implementation of policies through mechanisms such as the Water Framework
Directive, Natura 2000, the Birds and Habitats Directives, and the Nitrates
Directive, dictate environmental quality targets. All these policies require different
monitoring and evaluation approaches in European agriculture. Therefore, a
systematic appraisal of the wide variety of farming activities within Europe's
wide range of environmental conditions (climate, soil, vegetation etc.) is required.
The only way to do this is by placing the different farming systems in their wider
spatial and environmental context. It is not only the action of the farmer in response
1 Source: Reporting of Member States in the framework of the Habitats Directive (92/42/EEC);
status of July 2006.
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