Family Farming Knowledge Platform

Overview of sustainable practices for the management of mountain grasslands in Europe

This report, elaborated in the frame of EU-funded LIFE project OREKA MENDIAN (2016-2022), focuses on how human activities can support sustainable management of mountain grasslands in Europe.

Today, more than 75% of the grassland area in the EU-28 is considered to have an unfavourable conservation status. The widely negative picture of the status of mountain grasslands is due to a rise in environmental pressures which accelerate the deterioration of this ecosystem, as well as changing socio-economic factors which lead to the decline of pastoral practices for the maintenance of this landscape. During the 20th century, land abandonment, intensification, afforestation, and conversation to other land-use types caused a 90% decrease of semi-grasslands in most European countries and the loss (or even extinction) of species inhabiting these ecosystems. 

This report argues that, so far, neither national nor European political efforts have been able to completely prevent the drastic decline of pastoral practices. At the European scale, much still needs to be done in order to remove inconsistencies among policies and efficiently help farmers and shepherds to address socio-economic and environmental changes. Whereas the CAP seems to be somewhat effective in its socio-economic impact (e.g. supporting farmers’ revenues, preserving pastoral lands, reducing market distortion, boosting local economies and jobs), it has mainly supported larger producers. More reliable indicators on the results and impacts of the CAP in relation to biodiversity would contribute to more adequately assessing the net-effects assessment of this policy on Europe’s biodiversity, especially in widely deteriorating habitats such as grasslands. In line with the Green Deal, the CAP post 2023 should have a stronger positive impact on biodiversity and natural resources. Yet, its implementation will largely depend on how the Member States define and implement their CAP Strategic Plans.

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Publisher: OREKA MENDIAN & EUROMONTANA
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Organization: OREKA MENDIAN
Other organizations: EUROMONTANA, LIFE programme , Natura 2000
Year: 2021
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Country/ies: European Union
Geographical coverage: European Union (European Union)
Type: Report
Content language: English
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