Clear targets for agriculture and forestry missing from Europe’s biodiversity plan

3 May 2011

Brussels, May 3, 2011 – Friends of the Earth Europe welcomes today's European Commission plan [1] for the future of biodiversity in Europe, but warns measurable targets are urgently needed in the areas of agriculture and forestry if the strategy is to succeed. The document outlines how the 27 member states of the EU will implement the new global strategic plan for the Conven­tion on Biological Diversity (CBD), agreed in October last year alongside 193 nations.

Friends of the Earth Europe welcomes the call for the strengthening of nature conservation, an end to overfishing, the combating of invasive aliens species, the restoration of habitats and the call to step up Europe's contribution towards tackling global biodiversity loss. However, concerns remain around the 'greening' of agricultural and forestry policy – two key sectors where the Commission has failed to commit to measurable targets.

Friedrich Wulf, biodiversity campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe says: "Agriculture and forestry are the biggest land users in Europe, and how that land is used is crucial in preventing further biodiversity loss. Without clear and measurable targets to ensure these areas are sustainable, species depletion will continue, undermining the whole EU biodiversity strategy and further threatening global biodiversity."

Environment ministers have the opportunity to fill this gap at their next meeting on June 17th. Friends of the Earth Europe urges ministers to call for measurable targets [2], and to show strong support for the greening of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). [3]

Friedrich Wulf continues: "Combating biodiversity loss is one of the major environmental challenges we face today. The EU has committed to halting biodiversity loss by 2020, and even restoring it as much as feasible. This communication comes close, but environment ministers must support measurable and precise targets for agriculture and forestry, otherwise Europe's plan to halt biodiversity loss will fail."


[1] COM (2011) 244:

[2] 100% of used farmland and forests should come under biodiversity-related measures
(in fulfilmet of CBD target 7); pollution from fertilisers must not exceed critical loads; all incentives and subsidies detrimental to biodviersity must be eliminated – such as funding for intensive production.

[3] This can be achieved by ensuring that direct payments for farmers are only granted if a minimum set of simple agronomic practices are adhered to – for example, setting a minimum area of a farm to be dedicated to biodiversity protection; crop rotation; extensively managed permanent pasture; green cover for crop land. Additionally the CAP should extend financial support for biodiversity-related measures, such as agri-environmental schemes, and make funding dependant on outcomes and results for biodiversity.