HNV Farmland in Maramures (Romania)

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Western Stara Planina (Bulgaria)

High Nature Value farmland: Case study report

Western Stara Planina (Bulgaria)

The Western Stara Planina is a high mountain range which forms the northern half of Bulgaria’s border with Serbia. The five municipalities in which the workshop was located stretch from the valley bottoms and piedmont area to the border peaks.

Most of the uplands is designated as both an SPA and an SCI under European Directives. Both forests and farmland are of High Nature Value. Farmland is dominated by pastures, and communal pastures are particularly significant. Some is natural (primary) grass vegetation (alpine or high mountain pastures, riparian meadows, stony and rocky terrains), the rest is of semi-natural character (secondary grasslands), shaped by man after the removal of forest cover.

The low proportion of land declared for CAP support was a cause of concern in the workshops. While large tracts are abandoned, only 18% of the non-abandoned land was declared. Various issues were raised, including the interpretation of ‘forest’ (which cannot be declared) and of the cross-compliance rules prohibiting the expansion of unwanted vegetation in the context of recently abandoned or semi-abandoned land. The key role of communal pastures and of the mechanisms by which they are let out and of things such as minimum stocking rules for CAP schemes were highlighted.

Some key messages:

  • CAP payments are increasingly area-based; the role of local government in the allocation of communal land is key
  • The CAP ban on claiming agricultural support payments on forest can be very subtly applied. This is crucial especially where there has been widespread scrub invasion in recent years.
  • Innovative use should be made of CAP and other instruments for the reinstatement of pastures on recently abandoned land, even land which is currently not eligible for area-based support

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European Forum on Nature Conservation and Pastoralism
Online: http://www.efncp.org/projects/hnv-bulgaria-romania/western-stara-plania/
Date: 2017/07/28
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