High Nature Value farmland: Case study report
The Strandzha Natural Park covers 116000 ha of south-eastern Bulgaria next to the Turkish border. Although it extends as far as the Black Sea coast, most of the park is made up of a series of high hills and deep valleys. Its geographic position at the border of Europe, Asia Minor and the Mediterranean is exceptional, resulting in unique values in terms of biodiversity, for example habitats of relict, endemic and threatened species of natural and semi-natural character.
Although forests now cover 80% of the Park’s territory, the area had a very significant pastoral tradition prior to the closing of the borders during the Cold War. However since the fall of Communism livestock numbers have decreased massively once more, with the result that scrub encroachment and eventual reversion to forest threaten the remaining open areas, mostly HNV pastures at present.
One major focus, and one to which we returned in other workshops, was the issue of the implementation and interpretation of the cross-compliance rules on the ‘encroachment of unwanted vegetation’. An active group of bee-keepers illustrated how HNV grasslands can have economic value beyond that for graziers. The growing issue of the availability and cost of skilled labour for shepherding duties was also discussed.
Some key messages:
- There needs to be a fundamental re-examination at EU level of the implications of cross-compliance rules for land on the verge of abandonment and, in the meantime, the rules need to be applied with a very sensitive and light touch at local level
- Small farmers need to be encouraged and helped to network and co-operate, even to lobby
- Agriculture needs to be fully integrated and considered in the management plans for designated areas, even if they are prepared by environmental authorities
- Minimum size rules for parcels used to claim CAP support cause difficulties; there may be ways round the problem, but they require a proactive and innovative approach on the part of the authorities
- High Nature Value farmland “Traditional Agriculture for Nature – European Recognition of Southern and Eastern Europe Landscape”: Strandzha (Bulgaria)
- Defining the HNV farming concept at EU and local levels Guy Beaufoy & Gwyn Jones, experts, EFNCP (.ppt, 14.226 KB)
- EU hygienic requirements in Bulgaria and their impact on agricultural practices in HNV areas Stanimir Stoychev & Emil Petrov, consultants (.ppt, 552 KB)
- High Nature Value farmland in Strandzha Koen De Rijck, expert, WWF-DCP (.ppt, 4.322 KB)
- Opportunities for financing measures for sustainable management of the pastures and meadows in Bulgaria Desislava Veleva, expert, Ministery of Agriculture (.ppt, 5.394 KB)
- Current situation, threats and trends in meadows and pastures on the territory of Strandzha Nature Park Chavdar Gussev, biologist, Institute of Botany, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (.pdf, 11.786 KB)
- Condition of stock-breeding in the region of Strandzha Valentin Byalkov, advisor, Regional Agricultural Advisory Service Burgas (.ppt, 6.407 KB)
- High Nature Value farming concept – international agreementsYulia Grigorova, expert, WWF-DCP (.ppt, 1.753 KB)