Impacts of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) on biodiversity and ecosystem services
Pe'er, G., Lakner, S., Müller, R., Passoni, G., Bontzorlos, V., Clough, D., Moreira, F., Azam, C., Berger, J., Bezák, P., Bonn, A., Hansjürgens, B., Hartmann, L., Kleemann, J., Lomba, A., Sahrbacher, A., Schindler, S., Schleyer, C., Schmidt, J., Schüler, S., Sirami, C., von Meyer-Höfer, M. and Zinngrebe, Y. (2018). Impacts of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) on biodiversity and ecosystem services. 5th European Congress of Conservation Biology. doi: 10.17011/conference/eccb2018/108123
© the Authors, 2018
As part of a ‘fitness check’ evaluation of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), completed in autumn 2017, we conducted an in depth literature review to evaluate both direct and indirect effects of the CAP on biodiversity (BD) and ecosystem services (ESS). Beyond instruments that are designated towards the protection of BD and ESS, such as agri-environment(-climate) schemes (AECM), greening, and cross compliance (CC), we considered and evaluated non-designated instruments such as Direct Payments, that likely have indirect effects on BD and ESS by affecting land-use changes, farm structure and management. Although literature suggests that AECM can be locally effective (1), their effectiveness at the EU level remains limited due to a restricted budget and extent, low uptake and acceptance by farmers, lack of spatial design, and poor implementation in many cases. Greening measures are both ineffective and cost-inefficient since most farmers are either exempt or can comply with the greening requirements without any action (2). Additionally, administrative requirements bias farmers toward choosing the simplest and least effective measures (3) and management requirements and spatial design are lacking. With respect to supporting farming systems that can be considered as sustainable, our review indicates that the CAP offers adequate support to promote organic farming, but much greater support is given to unsustainable farming systems. Moreover, the protection of High Nature Value farming systems is scarce and inadequate. Concerning ESS, current measures (AECM, CC) are somewhat effective with respect to soil protection and water quality but the performance of the CAP is very low with regard to climate issues by failing to address the most important sources of greenhouse-gas emissions, namely livestock production and nitrogen fertilization. Overall, the CAP’s design and implementation poorly takes up existing knowledge and experience with respect to necessary interventions and best indicators, and its various instruments operate with little coherence (e.g. AECM and organic farming) or even in conflict (e.g. AECM and greening). Moreover, the CAP only marginally addresses the EU's global ecological footprint and its contribution to land-use changes outside of Europe. Thus, the global efficiency and effectiveness of the CAP in terms of BD and ESS remains weak. Our literature review indicates the availability of a wealth of evidence to inform current and future policy design processes. Integration of all available knowledge, in collaboration with the scientific community, will be essential for achieving higher effectiveness, efficiency, and coherence within instruments and among the CAP and the EU’s biodiversity strategy. A much more inclusive, transparent and evidence-based process will be necessary if the European Commission wishes to address the concerns over the CAP’s performance with respect to public goods.
PublisherOpen Science Centre, University of Jyväskylä
ConferenceECCB2018: 5th European Congress of Conservation Biology. 12th - 15th of June 2018, Jyväskylä, Finland
MetadataShow full item record
- ECCB 2018 
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