Agriculture and the environment
Farming has an impact on the status of the environment and the functioning of ecosystems, both locally and more extensively. Forms of land use, the farms’ types of production, various production methods, grazing, forest management techniques, cultivation methods and the quality of arable land affect the status of the environment.
A negative impact on ecosystems is seen as eutrophication, acidification and clouding of water bodies, destruction of habitats and loss of biodiversity.
Positive impacts are seen as different types of semi-open habitats with a diversity of species and biotopes, open agricultural landscapes, cultural environments and inviting living environments.
Environmental measures in agriculture have gained a more prominent role in the different schemes under the EU common agricultural policy. The schemes include various conditions aiming at environmental protection and sustainable agricultural production. These conditions require beneficiaries to take certain measures without a separate compensation.
From 2015 onwards, agri-environmental measures are complemented with greening payments funded directly by the EU. The payments require crop diversification and maintaining an ecological focus area and permanent grassland.
Rural development programmes have a long tradition of supporting agri-environmental efforts. The new measures introduced in 2015 include many ways to further enhance environmental measures within agriculture.