08 Sep 2022 FACE Webinar – Making CAP Strategic Plans work for biodiversity and small game
Brussels, 8 September 2022 – In the context of continued declines in small game populations and with new national farming plans coming into effect from 1 January 2023, FACE organised the webinar “Making CAP Strategic Plans work for biodiversity and small game” with a range of experts on 7 September 2022.
Mr Pierre Bascou, DG AGRI Sustainability Director, European Commission, provided an update on the latest CAP Strategic Plans, Eco schemes and the options to maintain and improve farmland biodiversity. Importantly, he underlined that “new land eligibility rules and more effective financial support in the future CAP should improve the protection of biodiversity and small game”.
Dr James Moran, Senior Lecturer in Ecology, Atlantic Technology University (Ireland), gave a detailed overview of result-based agri-environment schemes, which have been proven successful under the current CAP framework. He affirmed that “results-based agri-environment payments do not work in isolation. They work best as part of a wider integrated land use strategy combining supporting actions, cooperation, knowledge sharing and innovation to create a market for public goods (nature, carbon and water-related ecosystem services) within modern food production systems”.
With regard to the importance of habitat conservation for the Turtle Dove, Dr Carlos Sánchez García-Abad, Director of Research, Fundación Artemisan (Spain), stated that Research has shown that the Turtle dove (Streptopelia turtur) is favoured by landscape heterogeneity in woodland and farmland habitats, and there is evidence that hunters and game managers provide favourable habitats for the species through targeted management. To ensure the recovery of the species throughout its range, large-scale interventions are needed, hence the future CAP could be a unique opportunity to promote and expand targeted management in hunting grounds of Europe, which is some countries such as Spain, cover the vast majority of the Turtle dove breeding grounds” and further highlighted that “the key interventions could be retaining or creating patches of shrub or areas with trees, and in woodland opening the canopy through thinning (if dense), creating clearings and preventing encroachment. These would not only benefit Turtle doves, but also other species such as grey and red-legged partridges, hares and a wide range of farmland and woodland species”.
Ms Adrienn Gyenes, CAP expert from the Hungarian Agriculture Chamber and FACE agriculture advisor highlighted that the “CAP is a key instrument for improving not just the competitiveness of agriculture, but also agriculture’s environmental contribution. However, to be CAPable of doing so, strong cooperation is required among many actors. Hunters surely do have their niche in this work”.
As CAP Strategic Plans are a new tool Member States, adjustments might be necessary, and there exists room for improvement even after CAP Strategic Plans will enter into force on 1 January 2023.
Dr David Scallan, FACE Secretary General, who moderated the event, underlined that “the new CAP framework provides important flexibility for Member States to deliver results for small game including wetlands for waterbirds. Key stakeholders must remain actively engaged with their agricultural ministries to ensure the best possible conditions in place for farmland biodiversity”.
With a good attendance of around 100 online participants from a range of organisations, the meeting hosted a wide-ranging Q&A discussion. To get full insights of the state of play and learn more about the CAP post 2020 and its impact on biodiversity and small game, see the video recording here and the presentations here.