Project: Testing BIOdiversity Gain of European Agriculture with CAP greening

Acronym BIOGEA (Reference Number: 180)
Duration 02/10/2016 - 26/09/2019
Project Topic Biogea aims to examine how Green Blue Infrastructure (GBI) can be better managed through Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) measures and provide the greatest benefits for biodiversity and ecosystem services. The establishment of an informal participatory research and development network (PRDN) will help connect knowledge gathered on the local level with stakeholders and advisors to the work of researchers and decision makers on the national and EU levels. Agricultural intensification has been a key driver for loss of biodiversity and reduction in habitat connectivity over the past century. Around 50% of the EU land area is under agricultural use. It is therefore one of the main global change drivers affecting terrestrial and freshwater biodiversity and of key importance for habitat quality and connectivity (maintenance of GBI). The main policy impacting agricultural land management is the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Measures to “green” the CAP have been introduced over the last decades, first through dedicating funds to agri-environment (climate) schemes (Pillar 2 of the CAP) and in the latest round of reform “greening” the direct payments (Pillar 1). One of the aims here was to encourage environmental management across the wider agricultural landscape and thus increase habitat connectivity helping to meet the aims of the EU Biodiversity Strategy and Green Infrastructure Strategy. Greening is however facing a number of practical implementation issues and the flexibility left to Member States means that the effects on farmer practice and ultimately on biodiversity may vary between different areas and the placing of greening measures will depend very much on local advice provision and land planning. The CAP policy timetable with a report on greening and potential for a mid-term review in 2017 and another reform after 2020, together with important upcoming targets for biodiversity, water and climate policy, means that scientific research into the implications of the most recent changes is urgently required. Biogea aims to address this gap, linking the EU policy aims (taking account of adjustments to the policy over time), policy implementation framework in the member states and local implementation and advice provision in case study areas in three member states (Germany, Spain and Bulgaria). Policy design and implementation will be explored through the participative process with the PRDN (workshops, round tables, local learning labs and the final conference). Sets of existing biodiversity indicators will be refined to specifically examine impacts on GBI and connected ecosystem services. Modelling will be used to predict the impacts of current and future change to GBI caused by the CAP. Model predictions will be tested on the ground, refining the indicators to the situation in each case study area and allowing the development of a sub-set of direct and indirect indicators specifically of use for GBI. Analysis will be carried out vertically (on different governance levels from EU level to local level) and horizontally (between different member states) to examine to what extent the impacts of greening on biodiversity and ecosystem services really vary. The case study areas have been chosen to demonstrate a range of intensities of agricultural management, external change drivers (e.g. climate change, water stress), political, social and biogeographic settings and different choices regarding CAP implementation. In particular, the areas show variance in the quality and extent of GBI (such as landscape elements and extensively used areas). Previous studies suggest that the extent of GBI already existing on an area will have an impact on the effectiveness of additional greening measures. The final results of Biogea will be targeted at a number of end users on a variety of levels. A policy-recommendation tool will allow the generation of recommendations over the time span of the project as needed. Of relevance to researchers and those responsible for evaluating the impacts of policy, will be the modelling results and refined list of biodiversity indicators appropriate for measuring GBI and resulting ecosystem services in a variety of agricultural landscapes across the EU. Developing this on a practical level, GBI toolkits for farmers and advisors to optimise the placing of greening measures in the agricultural landscape to promote GBI and resulting ecosystem services will be produced. The toolkit will be specifically refined through the local learning labs to target the most appropriate end user.
Network BiodivERsA3
Call BiodivERsA3 Joint Call 2015

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 adelphi research gGmbH Coordinator Germany
2 Institut für Agraökologie und Biodiversität Partner Germany
3 National Museum of Natural Sciences Partner Spain
4 Universidad de Extremadura Partner Spain
5 University of National and World Economy Partner Bulgaria
6 European Forum on Nature Conservation and Pastoralism Partner Bulgaria