Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
Biodiversity & Land Use
Much of Europe’s biodiversity is associated with ecosystems that have arisen from, or are profoundly affected by, human land uses, particularly agriculture and forestry. IEEP has been involved in land use issues since its inception and in recognition of its biodiversity importance pioneered the High Nature Value (HNV) farming concept. It has also been at the forefront of developing policy responses to maintain HNV farming, and to reduce the negative environmental impacts of other agricultural systems, through high-level advice on reform of the Common Agricultural Policy and the improvement of specific instruments such as cross-compliance standards and agri-environment schemes. We have recently drawn this work together in major reviews of how biodiversity and agriculture interact for the European Commission and the European Parliament.
Tackling biodiversity declines in many agricultural and forest habitats is a major challenge as policy measures are required to support some land-use practices that are marginally economic and to regulate others that typically increase production and profitability. IEEP has helped to address this through practical guidance on policy implementation, including training on agri-environment scheme establishment and the management of farmland within the Natura 2000 network. We are currently investigating the potential advantages and disadvantages of result-based agri-environment schemes - see our web platform for information and guidance.
We have a growing area of work on bioenergy and biofuels, as their production has increased greatly, leading to significant biodiversity impacts within the EU, but particularly elsewhere, such as biodiversity-rich areas in South America. IEEP has developed policies and tools to protect biodiversity from the negative impacts of bioenergy and biofuel production, including land use mapping and defining criteria to protect highly biodiverse grasslands.
To celebrate World Environment Day 2021, we took the opportunity to interview a biodiversity policy expert from one of our Think Sustainable Europe Platform members, The Green Tank from Greece. Ιoli Christopoulou is a partner and policy director at the Green Tank specialising in biodiversity policy and spoke to us about the progress Greece has made in reaching its biodiversity targets and the challenges and opportunities that remain in the upcoming years.
The OECM framework provides ample opportunity to promote biodiversity conservation in the EU, can complement existing protected areas across landscapes and seascapes and contribute to achieving ambitious conservation targets. Nevertheless, the concept is still new, especially in the EU, and their role needs to be carefully evaluated.
Healthy multifunctional soils are key to put the European Green Deal and the Farm to Fork strategy into action. In light of the consultation on the new Soil Strategy, IEEP puts forward three main recommendations to ensure soils are adequately considered and protected in future EU initiatives.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on our health, social and economic well-being. To avert future crises from spiralling out of control, strategies to prevent pandemics need to be in place before the next outbreak occurs. Until now, this has not been the case.
The EU's new biodiversity strategy is an ambitious, constructive and coherent strategy that delivers on the commitment from the EU and its Member States to protect the living world and implement national strategies and action plans to achieve it.
Today we celebrate the International Day for Biological Diversity aiming at increasing understanding of the diversity of life on the planet and awareness of its importance for human development. IEEP takes the opportunity to share some key positive lessons from recent EU biodiversity action and identify key remaining challenges towards 2030.
Moving the CAP towards a focus on performance is a positive step towards aligning agriculture payments more seriously with the delivery of environmental and climate outcomes. But is there a need to ensure that the environmental priorities identified are sufficiently ambitious and that Member States are held accountable?
IEEP's new paper, "Ideas for defining environmental objectives and monitoring systems for a results-oriented CAP post 2020", suggests a way forward.
A newly published study for the European Commission by IEEP and partners investigates civil society’s role in improving the effectiveness of environmental taxes to reduce pollution and better manage natural resources.
IEEP held a one-day conference in Brussels on 5 October 2017 to present the findings of a major study for the European Commission on the use of market-based instruments to address pollution and resource use.
Sowing the seeds of optimism for Europe’s biggest environmental challenges. This article is based on an interview between IEEP Executive Director, Céline Charveriat, and Debating Europe – a citizen’s forum for European issues.
The UK’s action plan on sustainable use of pesticides aims to reduce the impacts of pesticide use on the environment and encourage alternative approaches. How is the UK doing and how could Brexit change the government’s approach to pesticides?
Ecological Focus Areas are intended to safeguard and improve biodiversity on arable farms in the EU. This IEEP study for EEB and BirdLife examined the evidence for potential biodiversity impacts on farmland, taking into account how the areas are being managed.