Ten European projects from Portugal, Spain, France, Italy and Greece, linked to climate change adaptation and biodiversity protection, are today launching a manifesto in defence of extensive livestock farming. This initiative, part of the celebration of 30 years of EU LIFE, is called “More extensive livestock farming: more biodiversity for Europe”.
The manifesto not only develops the five main reasons to promote extensive livestock farming in Europe, but also proposes ten measures to support this production system so that it continues to provide benefits for biodiversity, the resilience of territories and the local communities that depend on it.
The abandonment of traditional livestock farming and its progressive industrialisation, together with the adverse effects of climate change, make it urgent to implement a Strategic Action Plan for the Adaptation of Extensive Livestock Farming to Climate Change to maintain functional, biodiverse and resilient ecosystems, as well as a living rural world.
Preventing forest fires, combating climate change, promoting food sovereignty, conserving biodiversity and sustaining the population in rural areas are some of the essential contributions of this agricultural activity.
Grazing improves soil fertility and prevents soil erosion, thus helping to mitigate climate change, reduce dependence on mineral fertilisers and maintain the productive capacity of our soils. On the other hand, the presence of livestock reduces the accumulation of plant biomass in forests, thereby helping to reduce the frequency and intensity of fires.
Over the last 30 years, the European Union has financed various projects through the LIFE programme, with the aim of promoting scientific knowledge and its transfer to improve farm management, enhance the value of extensive livestock farming products and promote innovation in the sector. However, not only has this type of support not been sufficient, but the extensive livestock population in Europe continues to shrink due to the disappearance of small and medium-sized farms.
The lack of profitability on extensive farms due to rising production costs and the low prices farmers receive for their products is at the root of this loss of shepherds. Therefore, a differentiation of the product derived from extensive livestock farming as opposed to more industrialised models, allowing this type of management to be rewarded with fairer prices and payments for the environmental services provided are some of the measures set out in this manifesto.
The text also identifies an ordered set of priority actions aimed at influencing policies to enhance the value of extensive livestock farming, and to promote its incorporation into territorial planning and management instruments, including protected natural areas and the Natura 2000 Network.
The manifesto is available for download HERE.
Initiative promoted by the Association for the Defence of the Heritage of Mértola, under the LIFE LiveAdapt project, in the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the LIFE Programme, with the participation of the projects: Life Montado Adapt, Life Cañadas, Life Desert Adapt, Life Regenerate, Life AgriAdapt, Life Landscape Fire Project, Life Maronesa, Life IP NAdapta-CC, Life LiveAdapt and Life Scrubsnet, with Innogestiona as partner and coordinating entity, respectively of the latter.