EU Rural Review | Number 15 (2013)

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Series Details Number 15
Publication Date April 2013
ISSN 1831-5267
EC K3-AJ-13-015-EN-N
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Delivering Environmental Services using Rural Development Policy


Rural Europe plays a central role in the provision of environmental services such as preserving biodiversity, contributing to climate regulation — by reducing emissions and sequestering carbon, protecting water quality and availability, preserving soil functionality and air quality, reinforcing resilience to flooding and/or fire and maintaining landscape values. These services are often provided in combination, by ensuring appropriate land use practices. The EAFRD is the largest source of EU funding for sustainable land use, and for improving the delivery of environmental services in all Member States. The pressure on all aspects of the rural environment remains very high. Notwithstanding targeted legislation and incentives, and some positive outcomes, for example in reducing the environmental impact of agricultural and forestry activities, especially in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, EU objectives for biodiversity, climate and water — to name the most relevant — appear far from being attained. Many current land management models have a high environmental impact, contributing to a decline in farmland birds and grassland butterflies, and in the conservation status of agricultural and forest habitats, as well as to high nitrogen loads in water resources and reduced water availability and lower levels of organic matter content in soils. The importance of improving the delivery of environmental services as part of the wider challenge of moving towards a resource-efficient economy is recognised in the Europe 2020 strategy, and reflected in specific rural development policy priorities for 2014–2020. Importantly, ‘caring for the environment’, along with ‘contributing to climate change mitigation and adaptation’, are considered to be common goals for all rural development programmes (RDPs).
  • Foreword
  • EU rural development policy and its potential to provide environmental services
  • Environmental services and the ENRD
  • Workshop on 'Quality design of environmental and climate measures for 2014-2020 RDPs'
  • Building blocks for the delivery of the environmental services throuygh the RDPs 2014-2020
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