Agricultural environments are highly important for species that thrive in open areas. Many species of birds, mammals and insects use arable lands or their margins as well as grazing grounds created by traditional farming methods outside the fields as their primary habitats or nesting sites or for feeding. 

Biodiversity of agricultural environments cannot be preserved without cultivated fields, headlands, grazing animals and managed field margins. However, the success of species living in agricultural environments depends a great deal on cultivation practices, monoculture vs diversified cultivation, areas under grasses or set aside, and use of pesticides. Afforestation and loss of fields, grazing grounds and meadows reduce and degrade suitable habitats. Maintaining and promoting agricultural production with sustainable and diverse production practices is vital for biodiversity. Semi-natural grasslands, natural pastures and other open or semi-open meadow-like agricultural environments are no longer a part of the conventional production practice, which means that they require incentives and well-planned management.

Under the Common Agricultural Policy of the EU funding is provided to various kinds of measures that promote biodiversity. Increased organic production has positive impacts on the living conditions of species. In conventional production actions under the eco-schemes and environment payments, such as increasing plant cover on arable lands in winter, cultivating biodiversity fields and grasslands, buffer zones and nature management grasslands and crops that provide feed for pollinators, improve the living conditions of various species. Many birds and mammals benefit from vegetation where they can find nutrition in both summer and winter that are specifically sown and left unharvested for them.

Ditches, headlands, uncultivated field corners and other similar open spaces are also important for insect and plant species in agricultural environments.

The most threatened habitat types and species are those living in semi-natural grasslands and natural pastures, and they benefit especially from grazing, mowing and clearing. This kind of management measures are funded under the environmental contracts. Environmental contracts can also be concluded for the management of wetlands. The establishment of wetlands is supported with funding for non-productive investments.

Indigenous breeds of bovines, sheep, goats, horses and chickens are reared in Finland. Their preservation can be promoted through environment payments under environmental contracts. Funding can also be provided for other actions to preserve indigenous breeds and local crop varieties that are based on the National Genetic Resources Programme.

Further information

Anna Schulman, Ministerial Adviser 
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Food Department, Unit for Rural Development Telephone:0295162199   Email Address: