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Why we desperately need space for nature on farms

We need space for nature. The problem is, currently, our public money is fuelling nature's destruction.

By Jeremy Herry

The single, most dramatic cause for the loss of biodiversity, species and natural habitats in Europe is intensive agriculture.

To save wildlife, we desperately need space for nature on farms. And to achieve that, the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy needs to support farmers’ transition to nature-friendly farming. Check out our infographic below to understand why (you can also view a larger version here).

It’s pretty clear, right? We need space for nature. The problem is, currently, our public money is fuelling nature’s destruction. The Common Agricultural Policy, worth almost €60 billion (over 1/3 of the EU budget); almost indiscriminately subsidises intensive agriculture. We are paying for a system which fuels the climate crisis and extinguishes nature and biodiversity rather than enhancing it. What’s more, the ecological crisis is an existential threat to farming: without pollinators, there is no food.

There is hope: a different CAP is possible.

Science shows that if at least 10% of every farm in Europe was natural habitat – such as hedgerows, flower strips or ponds – then nature could come back. What’s more, it has even been shown to improve yields! This should be a basic requirement for receiving CAP subsidies.

Time is of the essence: The CAP reform, decided by MEPs this year, will apply for 7 years. Next time around, in 2027, we simply will not have the luxury of reversing 7 more years of nature destruction. Tipping points will have been reached. Ecosystems will have vanished. That’s why we so desperately need space for nature, money for nature and a transition for nature, right now.

For more information on the urgent transition to nature-friendly farming, read through our studies, positions and news articles here. Did you like our infographic? Feel free to share it!

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Stichting BirdLife Europe gratefully acknowledges financial support from the European Commission. All content and opinions expressed on these pages are solely those of Stichting BirdLife Europe. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.