Workshop on Livestock and Biodiversity in Europe – Nature as a solution in Grazing Systems?
The ’Workshop on Livestock and Biodiversity in Europe – Nature as a solution in Grazing Systems?’, hosted and co-organised by the European Environment Agency in co-operation with EFNCP and the University of Copenhagen was held in Copenhagen.
Copenhagen on the 22-23 August 2022.
The workshop, which aimed to provide input to EU-level discussions on restoring biodiversity in agro-ecosystems, was attended by 31 participants in person, with an additional 20 online:
- Carlos Romão from the European Environment Agency set out the EU’s biodiversity policy targets and the key objectives related to livestock systems, concluding that livestock systems are an instrument to maintain and restore semi-natural habitats, decrease the risk and intensity of wildfires and improve carbon stocks in mineral soils. (Download PDF)
- Pierre Jay-Robert from the University Paul Valéry Montpellier 3 and the Functional and Evolutionary Ecology Centre spoke about the importance of grazing livestock for farmland biodiversity in France. Having set out how agriculture has changed over the last 150 years, the ecological impact of current agricultural practices was discussed. Studies that address the importance of dung for species richness were highlighted. (Download PDF)
- Gwyn Jones from EFNCP gave an overview of pressures and trends in extensive grazing systems in Europe. The technological and economic opportunities of the last two centuries have resulted in those areas where semi-natural pastures have survived being overwhelmingly in marginal areas and still facing the same pressures. This has policy implications. (Download PDF)
- Jan-Erik Petersen from the European Environment Agency pointed out the importance of livestock systems for biodiversity conservation and showed research results on estimated area sizes with need of grazing in different European countries based on experts’ opinions. The spatial match between the number of livestock available and semi-natural habitats that need grazing for restoration was explored. (Download PDF)
- Victoria Thuillier from the Federation of Swedish Farmers spoke about how to support biodiversity in livestock systems from a farmer’s perspective. The key points of the talk being to work with the farmers, not with “farmers in mind”, but to engage and to add value. Ideas were offered on how to design a successful scheme, for example by offering long term and consistent measures and to consider risk management, keeping in mind that there are many ways to reach a goal. (Download PDF)
- Marilda Dhaskali from BirdLife Europe and Central Asia spoke about priorities for protecting biodiversity in livestock systems from their perspective. It was claimed that agriculture is the first driver for biodiversity loss and that farmland birds are facing the biggest decrease in Europe. Today's livestock densities, using Ireland as an example, were considered unsustainable and thoughts were given to how the situation could be improved. (Download PDF)
- Erling Andersen from the University of Copenhagen talked about how to design effective agri-environment-climate measures for supporting biodiversity in livestock systems. The work of the Horizons 2020 Contracts2.0 project was described, specifically the Innovation labs, whose aim is to develop novel contract-based approaches that are environmentally effective and at the same time viable for the farmers. Examples were given from different countries and ideal ways of implementing innovative contracts were suggested. (Download PDF)
- As a practical example of a conservation grazing approach Carlos Aguiar from the LIFE Maronesa project spoke about re-establishing extensive grazing in northern Portugal to support fire prevention and biodiversity restoration. It was shown how extensive livestock is used as a sustainable model that contributes to the mitigation of climate change. (Download PDF)
- Julia Wiese from Bunde Wischen and EFNCP showed how conservation grazing of protected areas and agriculture can work together using the organic cattle farm ‘Bunde Wischen’ based in northern Germany as practical example. Herd management for an optimal biodiversity outcome was discussed. (Download PDF)
- Philippe Pointereau from Solagro reported about the approach and standards of establishing a conservation grazing label (HNV) with a French meat company. The high nature value of the Limousin region was shown and the French HNV methodology with the three indicators “crop diversity”, “extensiveness of practices” and “landscape elements” was explained. Examples of marketing opportunities for HNV farms keeping Limousin cattle were shown. (Download PDF 1, Download PDF 2)