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Supporting the role of the Common agricultural policy in LAndscape valorisation: Improving the knowledge base of the contribution of landscape Management to the rural economy

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What drives landscape value?

An EU team examined local consequences of Europe's agricultural policies on landscape, contributing to policy evolution. Results indicated that the largest unknown was indirect economic effects of landscape management, and that food supply had the greatest impact on landscape valorisation.

Climate Change and Environment

Europe's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) strongly affects management of rural landscapes and farming activities. The full effect of post-2013 CAP reforms on rural economies is yet to be determined. The EU-funded project CLAIM (Supporting the role of the Common Agricultural Policy in landscape valorisation: Improving the knowledge base of the contribution of landscape management to the rural economy) investigated this issue. The 11-member consortium aimed to provide the information necessary to support effective CAP policy design, thereby assisting European rural economies. The project defined eight sub-goals intended to explore the relations between landscape management and rural socioeconomics, to support policy design and to foster cross-border cooperation. The work strategy involved creation of a conceptual framework as well as a number of empirical case studies. CLAIM first produced the framework, developed in collaboration with stakeholders. The framework, in turn, confirmed the existence of data gaps and the extent of the project's methodological difficulties. Case studies highlighted the diversity of European agricultural landscapes and opportunities for increasing the value of such landscapes. In all regions, landscape management was strongly connected to local demand for landscape services. Yet, the specific demand for services varied among regions. Research showed a complex role for rural landscape management. Generally, such management was targeted at farming, though sometimes tourism may have been the focus. Often, users did not fully appreciate the importance of regulation. The extent of appreciation also varied regionally, though users often agreed about landscapes being undervalued. Thus, the project concluded that the largest knowledge gap concerned evaluation of a landscape's indirect economic effects. The consortium determined that the potential, for increasing landscape's value through citizens and consumers action was largely driven by food supply. Landscape management was most important in terms of agriculture, yet management had flow-on effects throughout the whole local economy. Researchers created a publicly accessible knowledge platform, through which research outcomes were made available. The CLAIM project's exploration of socioeconomic issues surrounding management of European rural landscapes helped to revise the CAP. Consequently, management practices were also improved.

Keywords

Landscape, Common Agricultural Policy, landscape management, rural economy

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