Common Agricultural Policy
Many of the habitats and species that are protected under the Habitats and Birds Directives are dependent on, or associated with, low input agricultural practices. For instance, the biodiversity of high altitude grasslands or the meadow birds on fen meadows depend on locally tailored extensive farming systems and practices for their continued survival.
Pillar 2 of the Common Agricultural Policy offers a wide range of measures to support farmers, other land managers and rural communities in adjusting their management of the area to the management requirements the Habitats and Birds Directives. The measures can be used to support Natura 2000 farmland, in terms of land management, conservation planning and knowledge transfer and advice. Potential support is laid down in the multiannual Rural Development Programmes (RDP) prepared by national or regional administrations. Rural Development Plans are financed from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). For the 2014-20 programming period, the Fund focuses on three main objectives:
- fostering the competitiveness of agriculture
- ensuring the sustainable management of natural resources, and climate action
- achieving a balanced territorial development of rural economies and communities including the creation and maintenance of employment.
Restoring and preserving biodiversity, including in Natura 2000 areas and high nature value farming, and the state of European landscapes is one of the focuses of the EAFRD.