Levers and potentials in the Common Agricultural Policy to better support green infrastructure, biodiversity, and ecosystem services
CAP4GI aims to find ways in which the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) can achieve better results for biodiversity. “Better” means ecologically more effective and economically more sustainable for agricultural enterprises. The project looks at ways to improve the implementation of the current CAP and develops recommendations for the next funding period.
The ongoing intensification of agriculture since the middle of the 20th century has resulted in agricultural landscapes being less and less characterized by diverse structures such as hedges, fallow land, field margins, different crops, etc. The reduction in this green infrastructure means that agricultural landscapes are now mainly tailored to the function of food and raw material production. Other functions, such as food, protection, and habitat for animal and plant species, can therefore only be provided to a very limited extent. This unsustainable design of agricultural landscapes is one of the most important drivers of biodiversity loss.
In the EU, the design of agricultural landscapes is decisively influenced by the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The new CAP 2023-2027 came into force at the beginning of 2023. However, “after the CAP is before the CAP” and so deliberations and negotiations for the next funding period from 2028 are already underway. The current CAP also provides opportunities for adjustments during the current funding period. This offers opportunities for improvements towards more diverse and therefore more species-rich landscapes – for the current and future CAP.
The “CAP4GI – CAP for diverse landscapes” project aims to exploit these opportunities. The project focuses on agri-environmental support and in particular on measures aimed at promoting green infrastructure and biodiversity as a whole. Specifically, the project aims to identify ways in which support measures for green infrastructure and biodiversity can be improved so that they are ecologically more effective and economically more viable for farms. To this end, the project evaluates socio-cultural, ecological, and economic success factors and barriers to the implementation of measures. On the other hand, the researchers are modeling the effects of various support approaches on biodiversity.
“CAP4GI – CAP for diverse landscapes” is framed by a co-design process throughout the entire course of the project: by setting up several exchange platforms in two federal states (Thuringia and Baden-Württemberg), the exchange between and within the relevant stakeholders and the research team is facilitated and promoted. The aim is to enter into dialogue with farmers and other relevant stakeholders, to better understand their concerns and to work with them to find out what kind of support could be sustainable for farms and beneficial for biodiversity.