Europe and Central Asia

High Nature Value farming under threat of intensification and abandonment


Eastern and Central Eastern Member States still contain relatively healthy populations of farmland birds due to their retainment of traditional and high nature value farming systems. This form of farming is now under threat from intensification and development, as well as abandonment, with similar declines in the diversity and abundance of their farmland bird species likely to follow. The trend of abandonment is not only happening in these Member States but everywhere in Europe.

Due to the modernisation of agriculture, farming activities increasingly focus on more fertile and accessible land, leading to a decline in traditional labour intensive practices and the abandonment of less productive agricultural land. Also, socio-economic reasons have caused a depopulation of rural areas; this phenomenon is getting more widespread, particularly in mountainous regions and of areas with a high concentration of so-called High Nature Value farming. Farm abandonment has resulted in invasion of scrub and trees leading to a loss of farm habitats.

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