European Learning Network on<br /> Functional AgroBiodiversity
     
European Learning Network on
Functional AgroBiodiversity

News

FAB at the Belgian Ecosystem Services Community Christmas market
Gembloux, Belgium, 17 December 2014

19 December - There was a lot of networking and exchanging going on at the Belgian Ecosystem Services Community (BEES) Christmas market. For the first time in its three years existence BEES organized this national event to share knowledge and practices on ecosystem services. Over 100 participants from research, practice and government agencies gathered at the University of Liège (ULg) campus Agro-Bio Tech in Gembloux (Belgium) in a Christmas setting full of information stands. These presented Belgian research projects, education games, science-policy platforms, forest management, Natura 2000 and so forth.

A number of the presented projects concerned functional agrobiodiversity and presented national work on topics such as flower strips, agroforestry, pollination, pest control, and soil tillage. The research presentations were in many cases combined with education games to raise awareness of lay people about the ecosystem services offered by biodiversity to agriculture.

Photo: education game about functional agrobiodiversity, by ULg students © Ben Delbaere


 

EcoFINDERS project characterized biodiversity and functioning of European soils
Dijon, France, 2 December 2014

8 December - The EcoFINDERS research project on ‘Ecological Function and Biodiversity Indicators in European Soils’ held its final meeting this week, just before its official end in January 2015. About 70 project participants met at INRA Dijon in France, home to project coordinator Dr Philippe Lemenceau and his Agroecology department.

The results of four years of work were presented and discussed in plenary and in parallel roundtable sessions. The project was unique in the sense that it brought together leading soil biodiversity scientists from all over Europe and globally to work jointly on building up the soil biodiversity knowledge base in support of policy and land management. Major achievements of the project include barcoding of soil fauna, molecular techniques for identifying soil biota, discovery of new species, linking land use impacts to soil biodiversity and functions, long-term soil observatories, development of a unique database with reference values, identification of indicators, economic valuation, and stakeholder relations.

ECNC was part of the project’s stakeholder forum to represent the European Learning Network on Functional Agrobiodiversity (ELN-FAB) and link to projects such as OpenNESS. In the final feedback round from stakeholders ECNC’s Ben Delbaere complimented the project team for its great achievements. He also suggested follow-up actions in terms of outreach and linking to the EU policy implementation such as on mapping and assessment of ecosystem services (MAES), the biogeographical process, ecosystem restoration, and biodiversity indicators.

Despite the project coming to a close now, its knowledge will continue being of high value for soil biodiversity and land management activities in years to come. For example, the project’s database will most likely be hosted by the EC Joint Research Centre. And ECNC will integrate some of the findings in the ELN-FAB implementation.

Photo: Proud EcoFINDERS project coordinator Dr Philippe Lemenceau ©Ben Delbaere


 

New EIP-AGRI FOCUS GROUPS are launched

5 December - In November and December, the first meetings of three new EIP-AGRI Focus Groups take place. Each of them is composed of 20 experts selected by DG AGRI and the EIP-AGRI Service Point. They will explore innovative practices, identify research needs and propose topics for Rural Development financed operational groups in the following areas.

  • Ecological Focus Areas: How can Ecological Focus Areas, more specifically landscape features and buffer strips, contribute to the profitability of crop production?
  • Innovative Short Supply Chains: How to stimulate growth of short food supply chains in Europe, both in terms of numbers of producers and volumes traded, to increase farm income?
  • Integrated Pest Management to combat Soil Borne Diseases: How to suppress soil-borne diseases in vegetables and arable crops?

Meetings of the Focus Groups are open to the selected experts only. However, discussion papers and reports of the meetings will be made available on the Focus Groups section at the EIP-AGRI website.



First Global Soil Biodiversity Conference

26 November - In less than one week the first Global Soil Biodiversity Conference will be organized by the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative (GSBI) and the EcoFINDERS research project, from 2-5 December in Dijon, France. The conference will promote scientific research on the role of soil biodiversity for ecosystem functions and services, and integrate this knowledge into environmental policies and land management decisions globally. The ELN-FAB will participate in the conference, with a keynote speech being based on experience from the network.

Consult the almost final programme on http://gsbiconference.elsevier.com/conference-programme.html



Communicating biodiversity to farmers: developing the right tools

15 October - Two metrics for informing farmers about the biodiversity on their land are presented in a recent Swiss study: average species richness and farm 'uniqueness'. These are both easy to understand and comparable between farms, the researchers say.

For more information: download article
 
Source: Science for Environment Policy, European Commission DG Environment News Alert Service



European Bee Award

10 October - The European Landowners’ Organisation invites you to apply for the European Bee Award. This new award, created together with CEMA (Agricultural Machinery Industry), aims to reward best practices for the protection of pollinators and biodiversity in the farmed environment.

For more information visit: http://www.europeanlandowners.org/



Conference on Rural Development Programmes in Action post 2014: How can they work towards a healthier environment?

5 August - CEEweb, ADEPT Fundatia, the EEB and BirdLife Europe are organizing a conference on the new Rural Development Policy and Programmes at the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in Brussels on 15 September.

For more information and the draft agenda please visit: http://www.ceeweb.org/event/save-the-date-rural-development-programmes-in-action-post-2014-how-can-they-work-towards-a-healthier-environment/

 




Call for experts for EIP-AGRI Focus Groups on sustainable farming


25 July - The European Innovation Partnership (EIP) "Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability" is looking for 20 experts all over the European Union to participate in the EIP-AGRI focus froup  ‘Optimising the profitability of crop production through Ecological Focus Areas’. The Focus Group will meet twice to find answer its main question: How can EFAs, more specifically landscape features and buffer strips and their management, contribute to the profitability of crop production?  It is very important that we have farmers on board to be sure the answer can be used in the field. Besides farmers, also advisors, researchers and other experts are invited to apply for participation in the Focus Group.

For more information read the press release or visit: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/eip/focus-groups/call-4-publication_en.pdf
 




Planting field margins with wildflowers give farmers a net profit


26 June - The pollination benefits of planting field margins with wildflowers can outweigh the costs of set-up and maintenance, a new study suggests. On US blueberry farms wildflower strips resulted in double the number of wild bees on adjacent crops and significantly increased yield, the researchers found.

For more information: download article
 
Source: Science for Environment Policy, European Commission DG Environment News Alert Service
 




Which seeds to sow for bees?

14 June - Farmers could help to maintain populations of bees and other pollinators by sowing inexpensive seed mixes on their land, a new study suggests. Researchers surveyed pollinators visiting study plots in Berkshire, UK, and explored how sowing different seed mixes and using different management techniques affected the flowers produced and the pollinators visiting them.

For more information: download article
 
Source: Science for Environment Policy, European Commission DG Environment News Alert Service 
 


 

Inspiring videos about FAB

9 April - Enjoy some inspiring FAB videos based on the experience in the Hoeksche Waard, the Netherlands (with English subtitles)!

Field margins for functional agrobiodiversity:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4mBTvYKVYw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IlRNeMwZeQ

Farmland for wild birds:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32b4rwrjgLE

For more information visit: http://www.rietgorsinfo.nl 

Photo: © Stichting Rietgors 2014


 

High Nature Value Farming experts wanted for EIP-AGRI Focus Groups

28 March - The European Innovation Partnership for Agriculture and Sustainability (EIP-AGRI) is looking for 20 experts from all over the European Union to participate in the EIP-AGRI Focus Group ‘High Nature Value (HNV) farming profitability’.

The Focus Group will meet at least twice, over a period of 12 – 18 months, to find an answer to the main question: How to make HNV farming more profitable without losing the HNV characteristics? 

It is very important that we have farmers and advisors on board to be sure the answers can be used in the field.  Besides farmers and advisors, researchers and other experts such as agricultural economists are also invited to apply for participation in the Focus Group.

The experts share knowledge and experience. Each group explores practical innovative solutions to problems or opportunities, and draws on experiences derived from related useful projects. The first meeting is set for 12 and 13 June 2014. You can read more about the focus group and also find out how to apply on the EIP-AGRI website. The deadline is 8 April 2014, 13:00 hrs CET.  Please note that the call is for a total of four focus groups and high nature value farming is the first one on the list.


 

Bee-friendly agri-environmental schemes need diverse habitats

21 February - Diverse agri-environmental schemes which combine flowering crops with semi-natural habitats, such as grasslands and hedgerows, will be best for bees, new research suggests. The researchers examined the foraging behaviour of honey bees, bumblebees and other wild bees and found that all bees used semi-natural habitats, which were particularly important for wild bees, in addition to crops, such as sunflowers.
 
For more information: download article
 
Source: Science for Environment Policy, European Commission DG Environment News Alert Service
 


 

Soil biodiversity knowledge base takes shape
Manchester, 13 February 2014

During its annual meeting this week, the EcoFINDERS project discussed the interim results of three years of research on soil biodiversity in Europe. And it showed that an impressive knowledge base is being constructed; a knowledge base that will support European Union policy on soils and related topics.

About 80 participants met at The University of Manchester and represented the project consortium, its scientific advisory board and stakeholder forum. The four-day meeting had a full programme of workshops, round table discussions, presentations, poster sessions, debate and keynote speeches. The ambitious project studies biological diversity in soils and has already discovered over a hundred species that are new to science. It also looks at how to measure and describe soil biodiversity, what indicators can be used to communicate about it, and what ecosystem functions are provided through soil biodiversity. The project also generates knowledge on valuation of soil biodiversity, soil sampling techniques and methods for extracting DNA from soil. The consortium looks into ways to translate this knowledge into messages for policy makers and other stakeholders. And it develops a portal that will provide easy access to the data and research collected in the project.

ECNC participated in the stakeholder forum on behalf of the European Learning Network on Functional Agrobiodiversity. Soil biodiversity represents an essential component in agricultural systems and in functional agrobiodiversity. Other connections made through ECNC are with the work on ecosystem assessments as carried out in the framework of the European Environment Agency and our involvement in the OpenNESS project on operationalizing ecosystem services and natural capital.

The EcoFINDERS project entered its final year and will close with a final meeting that will be attached to the first conference of the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative, to be held in Dijon, France, in early December 2014.

Photo: Soil sampling in the Netherlands – Soil Images Catalogue: D. Creutzberg ©
 


 

Future horizon for functional agrobiodiversity
Brussels, 11 December 2013

There are great opportunities for further implementing functional agrobiodiversity (FAB) in support of sustainable agriculture.
 
This was the general conclusion of a successful seminar organized by ECNC, the Flemish Land Agency (VLM) and the Institute of Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO) in the framework of ELN-FAB. Hosted at the VLM headquarters in Brussels on 11 December, some 70 participants from 7 countries shared experience and discussed the future of FAB in North-West Europe.
 
The meeting was very timely, as it coincided with the launch of the Horizon2020 funding programme of the European Commission. A presentation on the European Innovation Partnership for agriculture productivity and sustainability (EIP-AGRI) demonstrated the potentials of Horizon2020 and other funding sources for cooperation for innovation of productive and sustainable agriculture, to which ELN-FAB could contribute.
 
On the policy side, a not-so-shiny picture was presented on the greening measures of the reformed Common Agricultural Policy. As the European Environmental Bureau put it, the CAP’s greening is greenwashing. Despite this observation, opportunities were identified to implement FAB measures as part of the ecological focus areas that are part of the CAP greening measures.
 
Presentations on a number of pilot studies revealed further opportunities in terms of wider uptake, because of the knowledge that has been generated in recent years, farmers who have become involved and motivated, and experiences in practice that are being exchanged. Also, technical development may stimulate FAB practices in the field, including in support of soil biodiversity.
 
During breakout sessions in the afternoon, the participants discussed issues and possible solutions in connection with policy approaches, farmer engagement, and the role of soil biodiversity and in-field measures.
 
With 70% of Europe’s citizens demanding a greener agriculture it is clear that FAB and other greening measures do indeed have a future. The ELN-FAB is dedicated to continuing to bring scientists, policymakers, practitioners and citizen groups together in support of this future.

For more information see the final programme and the presentations.
 


 

Functional agrobiodiversity in North-West Europe: What does the future hold?

ELN-FAB Seminar
11 December 2013, Brussels


In the framework of the ELN-FAB initiative, annual seminars are organized in order to bring together representatives of various stakeholder groups, policymakers, scientists and practitioners from throughout Europe to collect and exchange experience about functional agrobiodiversity (FAB).

Many years have passed since the first FAB projects started in North-West Europe. They have gone on to deliver promising results. Where do we stand now? What are the latest developments in the field of policy and research? How is FAB perceived by farmers? What kind of future does FAB have in the region? Do you have a story to share with us?

We will be looking for the answers on 11 December 2013 in Brussels. The event is organized by ECNC in cooperation with the Flemish Land Agency (VLM) and the Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO).

For more information see the final programme, travel and hotel information, and the publication Functional agrobiodiversity: Nature serving Europe’s farmers. If you would like to participate in the seminar, please fill in the registration form before 6 December via this link: http://goo.gl/6cdwej

If you require any further information, visit www.eln-fab.eu or contact Veronika Mikos by email at mikos@ecnc.org or phone +31 (0)13 5 944 944.

Please forward this information to your colleagues or interested persons.


We look forward to welcoming you to the ELN-FAB Seminar in Brussels!
 


 

Do agri-environmental schemes benefit insect pollinators?

18 September - Agri-environmental schemes (AES) do successfully enhance the number and variety of insect pollinators, research suggests. They are particularly effective when implemented in arable landscapes which also contain some semi-natural habitat.
 
For more information: download article
 
Source: Science for Environment Policy, European Commission DG Environment News Alert Service
 


 

The European Innovation Partnership installs Service Point in Brussels

12 August - The EIP Service Point stands ready to support stakeholders to tackle the challenges of today and prepare for an economically viable, productive, and sustainable agriculture for tomorrow.
Seven partners from seven European countries team up in the Service Point. The lead partner, Vlaamse Landmaatschappij (VLM – Flemish Land Agency), is setting up the Service Point in Brussels in close collaboration with the partners:

  • DLG - Government Service for Land and Water Management (NL)
  • ARC - Estonian Agricultural Research Centre (EE)
  • Project Management Jülich (DE)
  • AC3A - Association des Chambres d'Agriculture de l'Arc Atlantique (FR)
  • USC - University of Santiago de Compostela (ES)
  • Jusbox.eu - Communications and Events (BE)

Focus groups will be set-up on specific agricultural topics to facilitate innovative actions in the field.

For more information visit: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/eip/focus-groups/index_en.htm
 


 

Conservation efforts may be paying off for wild plants and insect pollinators

5 August - Since the 1990s, rates of biodiversity loss of wild plants and their insect pollinators have slowed down in north-west Europe, according to a recent study. It is likely that conservation activities, such as agri-environmental schemes, have contributed to this improving situation.
 
For more information: download article
 
Source: Science for Environment Policy, European Commission DG Environment News Alert Service
 


 

New insight into the complexities of natural pest control

25 July - Controlling pests using their natural enemies can be an environmentally sound alternative to pesticides. However, the complex interactions between different pest control species and the landscape itself can affect the efficiency of such biological pest control, research suggests.
 
For more information: download article
 
Source: Science for Environment Policy, European Commission DG Environment News Alert Service
 


 

New issue of ELN-FAB Newsletter published

18 April - The new issue of the ELN-FAB Newsletter has been published today. This newsletter exists to inform the partners, intermediaries and interested stakeholders of the ELN-FAB initiative.

Contents include:

  • ELN-FAB and soil functional biodiversity
  • Biodiversity indicators for European agriculture
  • New tool to map pollinator exposure to pesticides

and more...

You can find it here: ELN-FAB Newsletter, April 2013
 




Functional agrobiodiversity: Nature serving Europe’s farmers

15 March - A guidance book has been prepared by the European Learning Network on Functional AgroBiodiversity (ELN-FAB) on how to integrate FAB into farming practices.

The aim of this publication is to provide insight into the concept of FAB, its links to agricultural and biodiversity policy and the opportunities offered for a more sustainable agriculture and countryside in Europe. Special attention is given to natural pest control, pollination, soil fertility, and disease control. It is hoped that this insight will stimulate a wider uptake of FAB measures across Europe.

Download publication
 


 

Online publication in Environmental Science & Policy

Bianchi, F.J.J.A.,  V. Mikos, L. Brussaard, B. Delbaere and M.M. Pulleman (2013) Opportunities and limitations for functional agrobiodiversity in the European context. Environmental Science & Policy. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1462901112002523

To counteract the negative effects of intensive agriculture there is increasing interest in approaches that reconcile agricultural production with the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and associated ecosystem services. Integration of functional agrobiodiversity (FAB) in agricultural systems holds promise to meet these challenging objectives, but requires the generation, transfer and implementation of tailor-made knowledge, and policy development.

This article is available free of charge. Read online.
 


 

Quantification of ecological services for sustainable agriculture

11 February - The kick-off meeting of a new EU research project called QUESSA: ‘Quantification of ecological services for sustainable agriculture’, was held from 6 to 8 February 2013 in Wageningen, the Netherlands. ELN-FAB is participating in the project’s Stakeholders Advisory Board.

The objectives of the project are: 

  • to determine which characteristics (traits) of semi-natural habitats determine the ecosystem services provided to agro-ecosystems;
  • to determine how ecological services are affected by farm and landscape management;
  • to quantify actual delivery of ecosystem services provided by semi-natural habitats and particular field management for the major European cropping systems across agro-climatic zones;
  • to predict, scale up and synthesize the effect of semi-natural habitats on ecosystem service delivery in crop systems at farm, landscape and European levels;
  • to provide a novel web-based tool for farmers to calculate their own levels of ecosystem service provision;
  • to provide recommendations for policymaking at national and European levels for the management of semi-natural habitats.

Pollination and pest control have been identified as focal areas of the project, but soil fertility, weed control and social services will also be considered. The project will run until 2016 under the lead of the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (UK) and with the involvement of research partners from all over Europe.
 


 

ELN-FAB at BioVak 2013

1 February - ECNC had a stand at BioVak 2013, a trade fair for sustainable organic agriculture, nature, food quality, corporate responsibility and entrepreneurs. The event was held in the IJsselhallencomplex in Zwolle, the Netherlands, on 23 and 24 January 2013. More than 330 exhibitors presented their products and services to the public. The trade fair reflected the developments in the entire organic sector and beyond, from farmer to retailer. Just like last year, the event provided a great opportunity for knowledge transfer and networking. This year it attracted more than 15,000 visitors, mainly from the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.

Biodiversity was a new theme for the BioVak fair. Several interesting workshops were organized on the topic, for instance about the greening of the Common Agricultural Policy and the protection of farmland birds and biodiversity. ELN-FAB’s presence also contributed to awareness-raising on biodiversity for a more sustainable agriculture in Europe.

For more information visit: www.biovak.nl
  


 

Pollinator-dependence an underestimated risk?

30 January - Researchers have found that crops which rely heavily on pollinators have lower yields compared to less pollinator-dependent crops. They also have slower growth in yields and less stable yields from year to year. The results highlight the importance of managing biodiversity to support ecosystem services, such as pollination, on which much modern agriculture depends.

For more information: download article

Source: Science for Environment Policy, European Commission DG Environment News Alert Service

 


 

New issue of ELN-FAB Newsletter published

14 December - The new issue of the ELN-FAB Newsletter has been published today. This newsletter exists to inform the partners, intermediaries and interested stakeholders of the ELN-FAB initiative.

Contents include:

  • EcoFINDERS unravels the secrets of soil biodiversity

  • Statement of the Baltic Sea Region Conference: "Quo Vadis, Farmland Biodiversity?"

  • European debate on biodiversity - What European policy for biodiversity conservation in the coming years?

and more...

You can find it here: ELN-FAB Newsletter, December 2012


 

EcoFINDERS unravels the secrets of soil biodiversity

1 December - The EcoFINDERS project held its annual conference in Wageningen, the Netherlands, during the first Global Soil Week (19 to 23 November 2012). This ambitious project, funded by the EU FP7, studies soil biodiversity and the functions and ecosystems services it delivers.
 
After two years of investigations, the conference presented progress on soil biodiversity measurements, including the discovery of dozens of micro-fauna that are new to science. The project develops indicators for soil biodiversity and soil functions, looks into ways to apply economic valuation, and tests the effects of agricultural practices on soils. For example, long-term observatories are studying the effects of conversion from conventional tillage practices to grassland on earthworms. It has been shown that earthworm numbers increase, which improves soil aeration, which in turn reduces water run-off from agricultural fields. The project is also developing assessment tools, such as innovative approaches using genetic barcoding as a means to identify soil biodiversity.
 
ECNC participated in the stakeholder forum of the conference and highlighted the many connections that can be made with other research projects that study ecosystem services. Also, there are excellent opportunities to link the EcoFINDERS outcome to EU policy priorities, such as those on restoration of habitats, resource efficiency and green infrastructure. The outcomes are of direct relevance to functional agrobiodiversity and link up well with the activities of the ELN-FAB.
 
For more information: www.ecofinders.eu



Statement of the Baltic Sea Region Conference: "Quo Vadis, Farmland Biodiversity?"

23 November - ELN-FAB was represented at the Baltic Sea Region Conference: "Quo Vadis, Farmland Biodiversity?", organized by the Estonian Agricultural Research Centre and the Ministry of Agriculture of Estonia. The event was held in Tartu, Estonia on 14 & 15 November 2012.

The conference brought together a range of stakeholders with an active interest in the farmland biodiversity of the Baltic Sea Region in order to discuss a) the current situation of farmland biodiversity in the region and b) what can be done together to improve it? The conference aimed in particular to begin the process of developing a common position and practical policy recommendations for all Baltic Sea countries regarding appropriate biodiversity measures to be applied in the framework of CAP 2013+.

Some 80 participants represented the scientific community, agricultural and environmental ministries, environmental NGOs, various agencies and other organizations (BirdLife Europe, EU LIFE programme, ELN-FAB). They came from Baltic countries, Finland, Sweden, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK and Belgium.

The interactive conference resulted in statements which were sent to high-level European policymakers with the aim to 1. increase not decrease money going to Pillar 2 of the CAP by strengthening the modulation principle; 2. ensure all traditional societal and environmental aspects of the Baltic Sea Region are taken into account, with a specific focus on pastures, landscape heterogeneity and habitat mosaics, and the general sustainability of the agricultural system. The participants trust that these points will be taken into account during the negotiations on the regulations and the drafting process of the implementing regulations and guidelines.

For more information see: http://pmk.agri.ee/pkt/index.php?valik=23&keel=1&template=mak_sisu.html



Balanced approach to restoring farmland biodiversity shares and separates land

20 November - It is possible to balance agricultural production with improved biodiversity on farmland, according to researchers. A new study suggests using a combination of land sharing techniques, which enhance biodiversity on existing farmland, with land separation techniques, which designate separate areas for conservation and farmland production.

For more information: download article

Source: Science for Environment Policy, European Commission DG Environment News Alert Service



Towards Effective Nature Conservation on Farmland: Making Farmers Matter

24 October - Until now the main instrument to counteract the loss of biodiversity and landscape quality in the European countryside has been Agri-Environment Schemes (AES), which offer short term payments for performing prescribed environmental management behaviours. This approach is, in its current set-up, not a sustainable way of enhancing biodiversity and landscape quality. The authors of this recently published article argue that conservation in agricultural areas is also a social challenge. To change farmers’ behaviours towards more sustainable conservation of farmland biodiversity, instruments should aim to influence individual farmer's motivation and behaviour. We should aim to place farmland biodiversity ‘in the hands and minds of farmers’.

For more information see: http://euroconbio.blogspot.hu/2012/10/towards-effective-nature-conservation.html
 



Baltic Sea Regional Conference - QUO VADIS, FARMLAND BIODIVERSITY?
14-15 November 2012, Tartu, Estonia

The Estonian Agricultural Research Centre and Ministry of Agriculture are holding the Baltic Sea Regional Conference under the title Quo Vadis, Farmland Biodiversity?, 14-15 November 2012, in Tartu (Estonia).

The conference will start by considering the current state of play in the Baltic region with regards to biodiversity and high nature value (HNV) farming, and exploring means for understanding, monitoring and evaluating it. The event will bring together a range of regional stakeholders with an active interest in farmland biodiversity, including policy-makers, policy evaluators, scientists and experts.

The second day of the conference will focus on solutions for preserving farmland biodiversity, including the potential for common objectives and approaches. The experiences of projects run under CAP, RDP and LIFE will be presented and explored to identify good practices and possible ways forward. In particular, this aims to start the process towards a common regional position regarding appropriate biodiversity measures for CAP 2013+.

For more information see:
http://pmk.agri.ee/pkt/index.php?valik=25&keel=1&template=mak_sisu.html
 



European debate on biodiversity - What European policy for biodiversity conservation in the coming years?

1 October - The 14 European partners of the REVERSE project organized a high-level debate on the development of the EU biodiversity policy. The event was held in Brussels on 25 September 2012 and marked the closing of this three-year project.

The round table included representatives of the European Commission (DG Environment), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the European Environment Agency (EEA), and the European Parliament (Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development). It was emphasized that economics is the currency of the policy, so success in biodiversity conservation can only be reached with economic arguments. The private sector has a crucial role in biodiversity conservation. The EU B@B platform, led by IUCN with the involvement of ECNC and other partners, was the first step of the EC to intensify activities with the private sector.

At the end of the debate the REVERSE partnership presented recommendations to better take biodiversity into account in European sectoral policies (agriculture, land planning, and tourism). In relation to agriculture and biodiversity, one of the key recommendations was to support European networks of stakeholders working on the conservation, enhancement and management of agrobiodiversity, in order to encourage regional and national initiatives and create new entities, also encouraging knowledge transfer in in situ and ex situ conservation. This provides a direct link with the ELN-FAB project.



The Annual European Agrobiodiversity Day (EAD) - 29 September 2012

13 August - This year the subject chosen by the SAVE Foundation is the economic value of Agrobiodiversity, under the title “Economic value of local breeds and seeds”. Public awareness is important! There is still very little awareness of the enormous diversity of breeds and varieties found in European agriculture or the need for conservation – public awareness of our subject helps on all levels: it helps producers of traditional produce find a market for their products, or it reminds our politicians about their international obligations to create strategies to protect the national agrobiodiversity.

Don’t forget to promote the date 29 September – European Agrobiodiversity Day!

For more information visit http://www.save-foundation.net/EAD/EAD_en.htm
 




European Seminar outlines the needs for implementation of FAB in the Mediterranean


20 June - Some 40 experts met in Avignon, France, to exchange information on functional agrobiodiversity (FAB) and its application in the Mediterranean region. In the framework of the European Learning Network on Functional AgroBiodiversity (ELN-FAB) a European Seminar was held on Thursday 14 and Friday 15 June 2012. The meeting aimed to stimulate the uptake of functional agrobiodiversity throughout the Mediterranean region as a contribution to sustainable agriculture.

Representatives from science, policy, business and practice from 10 European countries participated in the seminar. In the mornings there were two sessions with presentations and discussion on functional agrobiodiversity, and on Thursday afternoon there was an excursion to an agroforestry test site. A marketplace was held on Friday morning, giving participants the opportunity to give a brief presentation on their work or various initiatives, to enable the participants to establish contacts. These snapshot presentations were followed by a lively exchange.

During the closing session the chairman of the seminar, ECNC’s Ben Delbaere, presented the conclusions of the seminar. Some of the points raised were that functional agrobiodiversity is much more than just pest control and covers many facets, such as pollination, erosion control and increased soil organic matter. To apply FAB in different cases requires tailor-made approaches that take regional differences into account. It is important that the scientific community convince farmers and society at large of the usefulness of FAB, while constantly keeping an eye on and influencing developments in national and international agricultural policy.

The European Seminar was organized by ECNC in cooperation with DIVERSITAS and the Groupe de Recherche en Agriculture Biologique (GRAB), and hosted by INRA in Avignon, France.

Final programme

Presentations

Final participant list

Pictures from the seminar
 


 

ELN-FAB European Seminar - 14 & 15 June 2012, Avignon, France

Note: The registration deadline has been extended to 10 June.


On 14 & 15 June the ELN-FAB European seminar on applying functional agrobiodiversity in the Mediterranean will be held in Avignon, France.

This event provides a unique opportunity for all those interested in functional agrobiodiversity to share knowledge and experiences and create new partnerships. It aims at stimulating the uptake of functional agrobiodiversity throughout the Mediterranean region as a contribution to sustainable agriculture. The seminar is organized by ECNC in cooperation with DIVERSITAS and the Groupe de Recherche en Agriculture Biologique (GRAB), and hosted by INRA.

For more information see the invitation, programme, travel and hotel information, and brochure about the concept of FAB. If you would like to participate in the seminar, please fill in the registration form no later than 10 June via this link: http://goo.gl/7dsAR

If you require any further information, contact Veronika Mikos by email at mikos@ecnc.org or phone +31 (0)13 5 944 944.

Please forward this information to your colleagues or interested persons.

We look forward to welcoming you to the European Seminar on ELN-FAB in France!
 


 

New issue of ELN-FAB Newsletter published

1 June - The new issue of the ELN-FAB Newsletter has been published today. This newsletter exists to inform the partners, intermediaries and interested stakeholders of the ELN-FAB initiative.

Contents include:

  • ELN-FAB European Seminar in 2012

  • Is there profit in agrobiodiversity?

  • Flemish farmers effectively support farmland biodiversity through field margins

and more...

You can find it here: ELN-FAB Newsletter, May 2012
 


 

ELN-FAB European Seminar in 2012
14 & 15 June 2012, Avignon, France

We invite you to attend the 4th European seminar of the ELN-FAB. After previous meetings in the Netherlands, Switzerland and Slovenia, we are happy to announce that our partner GRAB (Groupe de Recherche en Agriculture Biologique) has offered to host and support the organization of the next meeting, together with INRA Avignon, in France.

In the framework of the ELN-FAB initiative, annual seminars are organized in order to bring together representatives of various stakeholder groups and national and international organizations from across Europe, so that they can collect and exchange experiences about functional agrobiodiversity.

The annual ELN-FAB European Seminar will be held on 14 &15 June 2012 in Avignon. The seminar will include presentations, a field trip and facilitated workshop discussions. There will be a special focus on issues, problems and solutions related to the Mediterranean region and region-specific crops.

More information will follow soon. We look forward to seeing you there!
 


 

New issue of ELN-FAB Newsletter published

24 February - The new issue of the ELN-FAB Newsletter has been published today. This newsletter exists to inform the partners, intermediaries and interested stakeholders of the ELN-FAB initiative. Contents include:

  • ELN-FAB European Seminar in 2012

  • Making the link to soil biodiversity research

  • Gaia Biodiversity Yardstick

and more...

You can find it here: ELN-FAB Newsletter, February 2012
 


 

Editorial team of the FAB handbook makes important progress

13 February - A handbook is under preparation by ELN-FAB to help the stakeholders to strengthen the role of FAB in their operations, and to promote and disseminate examples of best practice. The editorial team met on 7 February 2012; the meeting was hosted by Wageningen University, the Netherlands. The key issue discussed during the meeting was how to integrate FAB into practices. The participants reached consensus on the content of the handbook and agreed on the next steps. The final draft of the handbook is planned to be ready by June 2012. The renewed financial support from the Flemish Land Agency for ELN-FAB in 2012 will provide an essential contribution to finalizing this important product.




ELN-FAB and soil functional biodiversity

19 January - The SUSTAIN project team held its kick-off meeting, hosted by the University of Rennes, France, on 10 and 11 January 2012. SUSTAIN (Soil Functional Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, a Transdisciplinary Approach) is a research project funded by the ERA-NET SNOWMAN under the EU 6th Framework Programme. ECNC, host of the secretariat of the European Learning Network on Functional AgroBiodiversity (ELN-FAB), is a project partner and will play a role in disseminating the project results.

The main objectives of SUSTAIN are to understand how reduced tillage systems, as compared to conventional tillage systems, impact soil functional biodiversity and soil functions such as soil structural maintenance, organic matter and nutrient cycling, water regulation, filtering and pest regulation. SUSTAIN will also quantify the consequences of reduced tillage systems on the soil ecosystem services of food production and greenhouse gas mitigation, and investigate the socio-economic sustainability of reduced tillage systems.

The involvement of the ELN-FAB will ensure Europe-wide dissemination of the results to the various stakeholder groups. The SUSTAIN project runs for three years (2011-2014).

For more information see: http://www.snowmannetwork.com/main.asp?id=110
 




The call for the “Land and Soil Management Award” 2011/12 is now open!

15 December - The Award aims to encourage new concepts of protection and their implementation and to enhance awareness of the importance of land and soil in connection with good agriculture and environmental conditions. This prize will reward professionals working in the area of land use and soil management pursuing the EU's soil protection goals, in particular those of the Soil Thematic Strategy.

Deadline: 31 December 2011

For further information see the call and the application form.
 




Making the link to soil biodiversity research

9 December - ECNC is involved as a stakeholder in the European research project EcoFINDERS, to make the connection between our role in the European Learning Network on Functional Agrobiodiversity (ELN-FAB) and soil biodiversity research. To this end ECNC’s Ben Delbaere attended the project’s stakeholder meeting hosted by the University of Coimbra, Portugal, on 5 December 2011.

The EcoFINDERS project (short for Ecological Function and Biodiversity Indicators in European Soils) is a large research project, funded by the EC FP7 and bringing together 25 research institutions. Started in January 2011, the project aims to support EU soil policy making by providing the necessary tools to design and implement strategies for sustainable use of soils, including characterisation of the biodiversity of European soils; determination of relationships between soil biodiversity, functioning and ecosystem services; quantification of the economic values of soil ecosystem services; evaluation of the impacts of human activities on soil biodiversity, functioning and services; and design of policy-relevant and cost-effective indicators.

Soils and soil biodiversity are key components in the natural system that provide key ecosystem services. Many of these support agricultural processes and are essential for ensuring a more sustainable agriculture in Europe. This is where functional agrobiodiversity comes in. The EcoFINDERS knowledge and experts therefore provide a unique contribution to the ELN-FAB network, which in itself offers a valuable platform for outreach and cooperation to the soil biodiversity research community.
http://www.ecofinders.eu/
 


 

ELN-FAB involvement in research projects

23 November - ELN-FAB is involved in various research projects by providing a dissemination platform and bringing in a European pool of expertise.

SUSTAIN - Soil Functional Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, a Transdisciplinary Approach, funded by the ERA-NET SNOWMAN under the 6th Framework Program of the EU (http://www.snowmannetwork.com/main.asp?id=110)

EcoFinders - Ecological Function and Biodiversity Indicators in European Soils, funded by the 7th Framework Program of the EU (http://ecofinders.dmu.dk)

Developing project proposals in order to futher strentgthen research cooperation in Europe will remain a key priority for the Network in the future as well.
 


 

Crop pollination is a vital ecosystem service

15 November – Crop pollination is a vital ecosystem service, yet the numbers of animal pollinator species, such as bees, are in decline. Now, a team of German and American researchers have demonstrated how crops that provide the highest levels of vitamins and minerals essential to our diet globally depend heavily on animals for pollination.

For more information: download article

Source: Science for Environment Policy, European Commission DG Environment News Alert Service
 


 

Set-aside land improves farmland biodiversity in Hungary

1 November - Setting aside agricultural land remains an important method of promoting biodiversity in Central Europe, according to new Hungarian research. Results have indicated that, compared to winter cereal fields, set-aside land has greater plant and insect diversity. This supports the continuing use of set-aside policy in Central and Eastern Europe.

For more information: download article

Source: Science for Environment Policy, European Commission DG Environment News Alert Service
 


 

The European Commission proposes a new partnership between Europe and its farmers

12 October – The European Commission has presented today a draft reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for the period after 2013. This draft aims to strengthen the competitiveness, sustainability and permanence of agriculture throughout the EU in order to secure for European citizens a healthy and high-quality source of food, preserve the environment and develop rural areas.

In order to reinforce the ecological durability of the agricultural sector and enhance the efforts of farmers, the Commission is proposing to dedicate 30% of direct payments to practices which enable optimal use of natural resources. Those practices, which are easy to implement and are ecologically efficient, are: crop diversification, maintenance of permanent pasture, preservation of ecological reserves and landscapes.

For more information: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/cap-post-2013/legal-proposals/index_en.htm
 


 

“The role of CAP reform for the future of food and farming”
Public seminar and excursion (20-21 October 2011, Lyon, France)

27 September - IFOAM EU Group invites you to the public seminar “The role of CAP reform for the future of food and farming - The impact of CAP on future food systems and the potential contribution of organic agriculture” on 20th October 2011, in Lyon, France followed by an excursion on 21st October. This Seminar is co-organised by IFOAM EU Group and ENOAS, the European Network of Organic Agriculture Students, in cooperation with ISARA Lyon, and the FNAB, the French National Federation of Organic Farming.

This event aims to inform students and interested citizens about how the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) influences our daily food and European farm landscapes. It will provide an opportunity to discuss the CAP reform and the broader future of agriculture with stakeholders, civil society representatives and policy makers.

Registration is now open until 11 October 2011. The registration form and further information including the program are available at the Seminar website: http://www.ifoam-eu.org/events/CAP/LYON/
More information: IFOAM EU Group, phone + 32-2-280 12 23, Fax: +32-2-735 73 81, info@ifoam-eu.org, www.ifoam-eu.org
 




Demo Farm project international seminar (15-16 September 2011, Valmiera, Latvia)

16 August - The aim of the project is to develop a network of farms for demonstration of sustainable farming practices in Latvia and Estonia. The main themes covered by the speakers in the seminar will be:

  • Lessons learnt from the process of development of integrated farm management plans

  • Recommendations based on the project findings for improvement of rural development policy in Latvia and Estonia

  • Future of the demonstration farm network in Latvia and Estonia

Information about the seminar and online registration form is available at: www.llkc.lv/demofarm/seminar
 




Simple re-seeding projects can triple grassland biodiversity

25 July - Researchers have recommended new, improved ways of increasing the ecological value of European grasslands. Plant diversity – or species richness – can be increased by a factor of three through sowing grass and wildflower seed mixtures, together with a carefully controlled plan for animal grazing.

For more information: download article

Source: Science for Environment Policy, European Commission DG Environment News Alert Service
 




Biofuel crops compete with wildflowers for bees

30 June - Pollination of intensively farmed, flowering crops could affect the pollination of wild plants in neighbouring fields, according to a study by German researchers. In their one-year study, they found fewer bees visited wild plants that are close to oilseed rape fields, although the longer-term picture is less clear. The researchers warn that increasing cultivation of biofuel crops could possibly reduce wild flower populations.

For more information: download article

Source: Science for Environment Policy, European Commission DG Environment News Alert Service
 




Pollinators and Agriculture in Europe Conference (28 June 2011, European Parliament, Brussels)

14 June - To mark the launch of the joint publication ‘Pollinators and Agriculture’, ECPA and ELO are organising an event for discussion of pollinators, their value for European agriculture, biodiversity and ecosystem services, and options for their protection.

In Europe a great variety of bees, butterflies, beetles and other insects are responsible for pollination; their collective contribution to the food in our diet is essential, however, this contribution is often misunderstood and frequently miscommunicated. As Europe experiences an overall decline in pollinator biodiversity, an understanding of the drivers of pollinator populations is timely and of significance to the future of agriculture.

In the context of sustainable agriculture and support from EU policies, this event will see experts and key stakeholders discuss the functions of pollinators and solutions for reversing trends in pollinator population decline.

For further information see the programme and the registration form.
 




Agricultural diversity boosts food security

9 May - Diverse agricultural systems can sustainably improve food security and supply a varied, healthy diet for people, according to a recent analysis of the benefits of agricultural biodiversity. The food-based approach, when integrated with other strategies, can be used to tackle malnutrition, micronutrient deficiencies and the impact of climate change on farming.

For more information: http://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/3/1/238/pdf
 



 
ELN-FAB steering group discusses progress and future activities
7 April 2011, Brussels, Belgium

12 April - The project team and steering group of the European Learning Network on Functional AgroBiodiversity (ELN-FAB) held its first meeting of 2011 to discuss progress and the main activities since the previous meeting and the future of the initiative. External experts from the European Environment Agency (EEA), Flemish Land Agency (VLM) and European Council of Young Farmers (CEJA) also participated in this meeting.

The meeting was hosted by the European Landowners Organization (ELO) in Brussels. The participants exchanged information on processes, publications and meetings of relevance to ELN-FAB, and also discussed what kind of approach the Network should take to be balanced between different stakeholder groups and ensure the proper involvement of agri-businesses. One of the key issues discussed during the meeting was the preparation of a handbook on FAB by the end of 2011 in order to provide guidance to the practitioners and stakeholders on how to implement FAB in their operations and promote sustainable agriculture. Fundraising continues in order to expand the Network in the long term. Possible co-financing from the European governments will be explored further, as well as the preparation of future project (research) proposals for submission to European funds.
 


 

ECNC discusses future cooperation in Czech Republic

8 April - Based on a previous exchange of information about the ELN-FAB between the Ministries of Agriculture and Environment, the Agency for Nature Conservation and Landscape Protection of the Czech Republic (ANCLP) and ECNC, and in view of the objectives of ECNC and the Czech Republic with respect to biodiversity and agriculture, a dialogue has been initiated to discuss future cooperation.

ECNC’s Executive Director Rob Wolters and Veronika Mikos, Project Manager, met with representatives of the Ministries of Agriculture and Environment, and ANCLP from 28–30 March 2011 in Prague, Czech Republic. The meetings aimed to present ECNC and the ELN-FAB project; learn about the policy-related and scientific understanding of the concept of FAB in the Czech Republic; exchange information on processes, key issues, problem areas of biodiversity and agriculture in the country; and clarify the stronger involvement of the Czech Republic in the future of the ELN-FAB initiative. Meeting were held with: (from the Ministry of Agriculture) Jiří Novák, Deputy Minister; Executive Director of the Forestry Division; Director of the Department of Environmental Support, Rural Development Programme and relevant staff; (from the Ministry of the Environment) Director of the Department of the EU and Environmental Policies; Director of the Department of Landscape Protection and relevant staff; and the Director and staff of ANCLP.

The meetings resulted in clarification of the stronger involvement of the Czech Republic in the future of the ELN-FAB initiative, in particular in the form of a European or regional seminar on ELN-FAB to be held in the country. Further cooperation was also identified in relation to conflicts in the management of the Natura 2000 Network, and business and biodiversity activities. ECNC also raised nature conservation issues which are of European interest, for example the case of Šumava National Park.
 


 

New issue of ELN-FAB Newsletter published


07 March - The new issue of the ELN-FAB Newsletter has been published today. This newsletter exists to inform the partners, intermediaries and interested stakeholders of the ELN-FAB initiative. Contents include:

  • Handbook on FAB to be one of the key outputs of 2011

  • ELN-FAB project team meeting discusses future activities

  • EC Environment Commissioner Potočnik welcomes stronger cooperation between DG Environment and ECNC

and more...

You can find it here: ELN-FAB Newsletter, No. 4, February 2011
 




EC Environment Commissioner Potočnik welcomes stronger cooperation between DG Environment and ECNC

15 February - On 7 February 2011 the President of ECNC and the ECNC Group, Sir Brian Unwin, and the management team of ECNC and the ECNC Group met with EC Commissioner for the Environment, Mr Janez Potočnik. This was followed by a meeting with the Head of the Natura 2000 Unit, Mr Stefan Leiner, and the Deputy Head of the Biodiversity Unit, Mrs Claudia Olazábal. The Commissioner was very appreciative of ECNC and its activities, and welcomed further strengthening of the working relationships between DG Environment and ECNC, which hosts the Secretariat of ELN-FAB.

Information and views were exchanged about:

  • The EC developments towards an EU Biodiversity Strategy and a Strategy on Green Infrastructure.

  • The Commissioner’s Flagship Initiative for a Resource-Efficient Europe, aiming at mainstreaming environment and biodiversity in Europe’s economy as part of the efforts to green the economy. The Commissioner will develop a road map and wants to increase the focus on biodiversity and ecosystem services. He invited ECNC to provide expertise input, including about business and biodiversity.

  • The European Learning Network on Functional AgroBiodiversity (ELN-FAB), and the relevance for greening the Common Agricultural Policy.
     




Agrobiodiversity: A mainstay of the 3rd generation of agri-environment measures?

7 February - A recently published report explores how existing agri-environmental measures in Flanders can be optimized and investigates which potential new measures could be applied. This study aims to contribute to the European goal to better combine agricultural production, agrobiodiversity conservation and the provision of ecosystem services. The study clearly shows that the interactions between agriculture and agrobiodiversity are very complex and functional agrobiodiversity (FAB) contributes to agriculture via: (1) the improvement of soil quality, (2) crop pollination, (3) biological pest control, (4) influence on micro-climate, and (5) the availability of genetic diversity.

For more information see: AGROBIODIVERSITEIT (INBO-ILVO)
 


 

The future of rural development policy

28 January - The debate about the future of rural development is part of the broader debate about the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), its link with the Europe 2020 strategy and with the budgetary framework of the next Financial Perspectives. The recently published ‘Agricultural Policy Perspectives Brief No 4’ looks into the most recent of the CAP policies – rural development. This arm of the CAP aims at dealing with issues related to climate change, resource efficiency and territorial balance among many other things. How this is done today, and what may be improved in the future are covered in this Brief. Ensuring sustainable land management and addressing biodiversity loss constitute a key contribution of rural development to the Europe 2020 strategy for sustainable growth and jobs’.

For more information see: APP Brief No 4 - The future of rural development policy and the CAP after 2013:  http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/cap-post-2013
 


 

European Seminar on ELN-FAB makes important progress

23 November - On 11 and 12 November 2010 the annual European Seminar on the European Learning Network on Functional AgroBiodiversity (ELN-FAB) was held in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The aim of the meeting was to bring together representatives of various stakeholder groups and national and international organizations throughout Europe to collect and exchange experience about functional agrobiodiversity.

The 44 participants, from 14 European countries, actively contributed to the workshop discussions, which focused on the following themes: ‘How to put the concept of FAB into practice: What works and what doesn’t?’; ‘Functioning of the network – the role of stakeholders and partners. How can you contribute?’; and ‘The economic and social aspects of the role of FAB for a more sustainable agriculture’. The outcome of the productive discussions will provide input into the planned handbook on FAB, which will help the stakeholders to strengthen the role of FAB in their operations and identify what is needed.

The conclusions of the seminar were presented by Dr Felix Wäckers, chairman of the ELN-FAB steering group, at the opening session of the conference ‘How can we green the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)? - A contribution to the dialogue based on the views from the New Member States and countries aspiring to EU membership’. This conference was held from 12-14 November 2010 in Bled, Slovenia, and organized by Avalon.

The annual European Seminar on ELN-FAB was organized by ECNC in cooperation with DIVERSITAS and the European Environment Agency (EEA), and hosted by the Agricultural Institute of Slovenia (KIS).

Final programme

Presentations

Final participant list

Pictures from the seminar




New issue of ELN-FAB Newsletter published

11 October - The new issue of the ELN-FAB Newsletter has been published today. This newsletter exists to inform the partners, intermediaries and interested stakeholders of the ELN-FAB initiative. Contents include: 

  • European Seminar on ELN-FAB in 2010

  • Updates on the ELN-FAB website

  • New atlas highlights the value of Europe's soil biodiversity

and more...

You can find it here: ELN-FAB Newsletter, No. 3, October 2010
 


 

European Seminar on ELN-FAB in 2010

6 September - On 11-12 November 2010 the annual European Seminar on the European Learning Network on Functional AgroBiodiversity (ELN-FAB) will be held in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The aim of the meeting is to bring together representatives of various stakeholder groups and national and international organizations throughout Europe to collect and exchange experience about functional agrobiodiversity. It is being organized by ECNC in cooperation with DIVERSITAS and the European Environment Agency (EEA), and will be hosted by the Agricultural Institute of Slovenia (KIS).

Throughout Europe, farmers, researchers, policymakers and other stakeholders are testing and implementing various forms of agrobiodiversity. At present, this practical experience is extremely fragmented and barely accessible. The European Learning Network on Functional AgroBiodiversity (ELN-FAB) aims to change this by accumulating knowledge on how biodiversity can be mobilized to increase sustainable agricultural production, to provide a platform for exchange of knowledge and practical experiences between farmers, policymakers and scientists to enable fast and effective implementation of best practices, and to promote sustainable agriculture in the 27 Member States of the EU, plus Norway and Switzerland.

For more information see the invitation, final programme, registration form, travel and hotel information, and a brochure about the concept of FAB. The preliminary programme will be revised further as other speakers confirm. Please visit www.eln-fab.eu for the updated programme.

If you would like to participate in the seminar, please fill in the registration form and mail it to the organizers before 15 October. If you require any further information, visit www.eln-fab.eu or contact Veronika Mikos by email at mikos@ecnc.org or phone +31 (0)13 5 944 944.

Please forward this information to your colleagues or interested persons.

We look forward to welcoming you to the European Seminar on ELN-FAB in Slovenia!


Note: The closing date for registrations has been extended to 31 October 2010.




Seminar on the European Learning Network on Functional AgroBiodiversity (ELN-FAB) in the Baltic Sea Region

1 September - On 25 and 26 August 2010 the ’Seminar on the European Learning Network on Functional AgroBiodiversity (ELN-FAB) in the Baltic Sea Region’ was held in Rakvere, Estonia. The event was co-organized by the Estonian Ministry of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Centre (Estonia) and ECNC-European Centre for Nature Conservation (host of the ELN-FAB Secretariat).

Understanding the relations between biodiversity and sustainable agricultural production and translating such knowledge into management practices that can be applied at the scale of farms and landscapes is of key importance for a robust and environmentally friendly agriculture in Europe. In this context, the concept of Functional AgroBiodiversity (FAB) has recently been introduced. The seminar gave insight to the concept of FAB and the benefits it can provide for a more sustainable agriculture.

The 59 participants, from 11 European countries, represented the three main stakeholder groups of the Network: farmers, policymakers and scientists. The facilitated workshop focused on the themes ‘What are the main barriers to deliver FAB in the Baltic Sea region?’ and ’What we expect from /or/ what could be done by politicians/scientists/farmers?’. The outcome of the productive discussions will provide input into the planned handbook on FAB which will help the stakeholders to strengthen the role of FAB in their operations and identify what is needed.

The ELN-FAB project is currently financially supported by the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment (VROM), the Netherlands; Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), Switzerland; Flemish Land Agency (VLM), Belgium; Ministry of Agriculture, Estonia; and the European Environment Agency (EEA). The further support of funders is being sought in order to expand the Network in the long term.

For more information visit: http://pmk.agri.ee/pkt/fabseminar
 


 

New issue of ELN-FAB Newsletter published

29 June - The new issue of the ELN-FAB Newsletter has been published today. This newsletter exists to inform the partners, intermediaries and interested stakeholders of the ELN-FAB initiative. Contents include:

  • Benefits of functional agrobiodiversity described in new brochure

  • Seminar on the ELN-FAB in the Baltic Sea Region

  • Updates on the ELN-FAB website

and more...

You can find it here: ELN-FAB Newsletter, No. 2, June 2010
 




Seminar on European Learning Network on Functional AgroBiodiversity (ELN-FAB) in Baltic Sea Region

4 June - EU farmers and policymakers increasingly acknowledge that biodiversity and agricultural production need not necessarily be in conflict, but can potentially strengthen each other, as experience has already shown. In this context, the ’Seminar on European Learning Network on Functional AgroBiodiversity (ELN-FAB) in Baltic Sea Region’ will be held in Rakvere in northern Estonia on 25-26 August 2010. The event is being jointly organized by the Estonian Ministry of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Centre (Estonia) and ECNC-European Centre for Nature Conservation (host of the ELN-FAB Secretariat).

Understanding the relations between biodiversity and sustainable agricultural production and translating such knowledge into management practices that can be applied at the scale of farms and landscapes is of key importance for a robust and environmentally friendly agriculture in Europe. In this context, the concept of Functional AgroBiodiversity (FAB) has recently been introduced. This seminar introduces the concept of FAB and the benefits it can provide for a more sustainable agriculture.

Please find the invitation, programme and registration form below. You are kindly asked to send the completed registration form by email to fabseminar@pmk.agri.ee. Registration closes on 15 July! For organizational reasons, we ask you to express your interest in participating as early as possible. Your registration will be confirmed after the registration deadline. All relevant information (regularly updated) is also available at: http://pmk.agri.ee/pkt/fabseminar. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Iiri Selge by email at fabseminar@pmk.agri.ee or phone + 372 53 021 925. Please forward this information to your colleagues or interested persons.

Invitation
Seminar programme
Registration form
 


 

Benefits of functional agrobiodiversity described in new brochure

1 June - A brochure explaining the concept of functional agrobiodiversity (FAB) has been prepared by the European Learning Network on Functional AgroBiodiversity (ELN-FAB) in order to inform the interested public about benefits and possibilities that FAB offers. It focuses on the promotion of the concept and gives examples of FAB-based practices.

The brochure is disseminated during the EU Green Week event (1–4 June 2010, Brussels), and will also be used after that for other purposes.

You can find it here: Functional AgroBiodiversity, for a more sustainable agriculture and countryside in Europe
 




ELN-FAB steering group meeting discusses future activities
4 May 2010, Copenhagen, Denmark

The project team and steering group of the European Learning Network on Functional AgroBiodiversity (ELN-FAB) held its first meeting for 2010 to discuss the progress made so far this year and the future of the initiative. The meeting was hosted by the European Environment Agency (EEA) in Copenhagen.

Fields of cooperation between ELN-FAB and the EEA were identified during the meeting. One of the key issues discussed during the meeting was the organization of the annual ELN-FAB European Seminar later this year. The participants exchanged information on processes, publications and meetings of relevance to ELN-FAB, and also discussed what kind of approach the Network should take to be balanced between different stakeholder groups. A brochure on the concept of functional agrobiodiversity was discussed in detail. This brochure will be disseminated at the Green Week 2010 event (1–4 June 2010, Brussels).
 




The future of European agriculture policy Call for a public debate

12 May - At the end of the year the European Commission will publish a Communication on the future of the CAP after 2013. But, before setting down any initial policy guidelines for this strategic sector, Commissioner Cioloş is launching a public debate on the Common Agricultural Policy’s future, objectives, principles and contribution to the ‘Europe 2020’ strategy to inform the preparatory work for the decision-making process.

Mr Cioloş announced that a special website (http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/cap-debate) has been created, which will be open for contributions to the public debate until June 2010. An independent body will then produce a summary of these contributions. In July 2010, the European Commission will organise a conclusive conference on the public debate. It hopes to draw strong ideas from this to develop its Communication on the CAP after 2013, which should be presented at the end of 2010.

In addition to how the CAP can contribute to developing the Europe 2020 strategy, the public debate will centre around four main topics:
• Why do we need a European Common Agricultural Policy?
• What are society’s objectives for agriculture in all its diversity?
• Why should we reform the CAP and how can we make it meet society’s expectations?
• What tools do we need for tomorrow’s CAP?

For more information:
http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/cap-debate
 


 

First global book on farmland birds

14 April - Farmlands, collectively, cover 5 billion hectares, thus forming the largest habitat on the globe. This very diverse habitat supports a huge variety of birds: 3,600 of the world's 10,000 bird species are listed as farmland species by BirdLife International. Until recently, a global review of this birdlife had never been published.

The book Farmland Birds across the World now fills this gap.

The book has been written by seven experts in biology and agriculture and compiled by the Dutch Centre for Agriculture and Environment (CLM). It is published by Lynx Edicions in Barcelona, publisher of the famous Handbook of the Birds of the World.

For more information see: Flyer – Farmland Birds across the World

 




First issue of ELN-FAB Newsletter published

10 March - The first issue of the ELN-FAB Newsletter has been published today. This newsletter exists to inform the partners, intermediaries and interested stakeholders of the ELN-FAB initiative. Contents include:

  • Steering group meeting and the new chair

  • Identified fields of cooperation with the European Environment Agency (EEA)

  • Recent meetings in Estonia

and more...

You can find it here: ELN-FAB Newsletter, No. 1, March 2010
 




Scenario study on the future of European agriculture and the rural world updated

8 March 2010 - Last week, an update of the Scenar 2020 study was officially published by the European Commission. The objective of this Scenar 2020-II study was to refine and improve the identification of major future trends and driving factors – and the perspectives and challenges resulting from them – provided by the initial Scenar 2020 study (December 2006) on the future of European agriculture and the rural world. In this respect the study does not aim at evaluating the impact of potential policy changes but to compare how the agricultural sector might evolve under different, and somewhat extreme, pathways which, to a large, although not full extent, follow the assumptions of the first study.

The study was carried out by ECNC-European Centre for Nature Conservation, Landbouw-Economisch Instituut (LEI) and Leibniz-Zentrum für Agrarlandschaftsforschung e.V. (ZALF). ECNC coordinated the project and edited the final report. For more information, you can contact the project coordinator, Vineta Goba.
 




Biodiversity and agriculture: resumption of negotiations

1 March 2010 - Hostile sisters when one invades or poisons the other, biodiversity and agriculture can also be perfect partners. INRA's research pursues this aim. Chickweed (mouron in French) has such a bad reputation that it is stigmatized in the French expression se faire du mouron, which means ‘to worry’ or ‘to fret’, and worrying is never a good thing. Like Colorado beetles or aphids, chickweed is overpowering; it stifles wheat, ruins rosebushes and eats our potatoes. Farmers and gardeners have been fighting this bad seed for centuries, sometimes with weapons of mass destruction.

Natural biodiversity versus artificial nature? It may be a tough conflict. But the National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) is working towards a peace treaty, even cooperation. A brief summary of the progress in negotiations. Read more…
 




2nd phase of the ELN-FAB initiative has started

25 January 2010 - ECNC, as the host of ‘European Learning Network on Functional Agrobiodiversity’ Secretariat, is very grateful for the contribution of numerous organizations to the initiative as it will enable us to continue the work in the next phase of broadening and intensifying the current activities of the Network in order to achieve the objective of integrating biodiversity concerns in agriculture in Europe and to help to optimize agrobiodiversity benefits.

The project team and steering group of ELN-FAB met for the second time on 26 November 2009 in Brussels to discuss the progress made during 2009 and the future of the initiative. Dr Felix Wäckers from University of Lancaster, UK accepted to be the chair for the next two years (2010-2011).

Since the secretariat is established it has made sure that the Network functions properly in providing the different stakeholders with a means to share knowledge and experience. The key products for the next phase of the project (2010–2011) are focusing on:

  • the ELN-FAB website (www.eln-fab.eu), providing information on functional agrobiodiversity, examples of good practices from all over Europe, news and more;

  • a register of projects throughout Europe covering the subject of functional agrobiodiversity;

  • annual ELN-FAB European seminars bringing together representatives of the various target groups from several countries, and collecting and exchanging experience;

  • communication and outreach activities, such as leaflets and presentations at events;

  • a series of awareness raising workshops about FAB throughout Europe to form working partnerships;

  • a handbook for FAB to help the stakeholders to strengthen the role of FAB in their operations.

The ELN-FAB is financially supported by:

  • Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment (VROM), the Netherlands;

  • Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), Switzerland;

  • Flemish Land Agency (VLM), Belgium;

  • Ministry of Agriculture, Estonia;

  • European Environment Agency (EEA).

Fundraising continues in order to expand the Network in the long term.
 




Farmers say that Conserving Biodiversity is a shared responsibility

January 11, 2010 marked the launch of the International Year of Biodiversity under the theme Biodiversity is Life – Biodiversity is Our Life. It is a theme of critical interest to farmers since biodiversity and agriculture are interdependent; both are also key elements to address climate change and food security. Conserving biodiversity is a shared responsibility of stakeholders worldwide, and farmers are willing to do their part.

The International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP) will be highlighting, throughout this year, the crucial role played by farmers to conserve ecosystems.  IFAP will also be challenging national governments and the international community to put in place programs to help secure the planet’s biodiversity, while at the same time, ensuring that farmers have the necessary tools to increase food production by 70 percent by 2050 to feed a growing world population.

‘’The main issue for farmers is gaining recognition for the multiple roles that agriculture is expected to fulfil and identifying appropriate mechanisms in order to achieve them. We need to help and encourage farmers to improve their current practices, while ensuring they can sustain their families and remain competitive in the markets. These efforts all need be undertaken simultaneously, otherwise you will have food security problems or a compromised ecosystem,’’ said Ajay Vashee, IFAP President.

Farmers understand the need to protect and conserve biodiversity, and their role in doing so. At the same time, it is crucial that they maintain the economic viability of their agricultural activities. In 2010, IFAP will strive to find genuine and long-lasting approaches to better conserve and enhance biological diversity that can be implemented by farmers, and will advocate positive and constructive policy approaches to governments and the Convention on Biological Diversity. 

“Through such practices as land set asides for wildlife and native species, conservation farming, organic farming, reforestation practices, pastoralism, rotational grazing and rehabilitation of degraded lands, farmers are contributing to the conservation and protection of biodiversity. However, this is a shared responsibility with the rest of society. All stakeholders need to participate. If these efforts are to be expanded on a global scale to reduce biodiversity degradation, appropriate funding, positive incentives for farmers such as payment for ecosystem services, training and policy implementation will be needed to achieve results,’’ concluded Vashee.  

To move forward on conserving biodiversity, the world farmers’ organization advocates the following actions:

  • Government policies for secure land tenure systems and adequate infrastructure that allows farmers to invest in long-term farming strategies related to biodiversity enhancement.

  • Economic partnerships between developing and developed countries aimed at transferring and adapting stewardship programs, such as credit systems and extension services. 

  • Recognition of farmers’ indigenous knowledge of local resource management and conservation.

  • Increased funding for the scientific research that underpins the development and sound understanding of how agricultural management interacts with biodiversity. Scientific knowledge and findings should be disseminated, scaled-down and be specific to the dynamics of a particular region.

  • Strengthened farmers’ participation in the formulation and the implementation of research projects and rural development strategies to enhance biodiversity. 

  • Improved policy coordination and planning of environmental legislation affecting agricultural production. Often different government departments deal with these issues in isolation. There is also a need to increase capacity to enforce legislation in a coordinated way.

  • Mainstreaming of the Agricultural Biodiversity program of work of the CBD (UN Convention on Biodiversity) with the programs of work of the other Multilateral Environment Agreements, such as the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) and the UNCCD (United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification), as well as with food security and rural development programs.

IFAP will be placing biodiversity as a policy priority in 2010. “Sustainable solutions can be found and many are already available”, said the IFAP President, “but responsibility must be shared among all stakeholders”.

IFAP is the farmers' voice at the world level, representing 600 million family farmers grouped in 120 national organizations in 80 countries. It has been advocating farmers’ interests at the international level since 1946. IFAP’s mission is to develop farmers’ capacities to influence decisions that affect them at both the domestic and international levels. www.ifap.org

Source: www.ifap.org
 




2nd European Seminar on the European Learning Network on Functional AgroBiodiversity (ELN-FAB)

30 September - On 24 and 25 September 2009 the 2nd European Seminar on the European Learning Network on Functional AgroBiodiversity (ELN-FAB) was held in Frick, Switzerland. The seminar was co-organized by ECNC, and hosted by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL).

Over the last decade, knowledge on how to preserve and use ecosystem services in agricultural practices has increased. Pilot projects have yielded their first results. But is this information available to the right people and stakeholder groups, also to enable multiplication of good examples? Are farmers aware of the most relevant policies, the outcomes of case studies, and the latest expertise and experiences, do policymakers know enough about the farmers’ world, how to reach them, and which priorities to set and best practices to support politically and/or financially? The aim of the second European Learning Network seminar was to address these questions and to learn from each other.

The 44 participants, from 14 European countries, represented the three main stakeholder groups of the Network: farmers, policymakers and scientists. The facilitated workshop focused on the theme ‘How can ELN-FAB contribute to increased attention to agrobiodiversity in the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy and other relevant European policies?’. The outcome of the productive workshop will provide input into a paper on policy connection of functional agrobiodiversity and will also provide guidance for concrete steps within ELN-FAB with regard to interaction with policy.

In addition, the project reached a new milestone during the seminar. The ELN-FAB website (www.eln-fab.eu) was launched, providing the main communication platform to the Network and also containing a European project database covering the subject of functional agrobiodiversity. The website is available in four languages (English, German, French and Spanish) and focuses on the stakeholder groups of the Network through targeted messages.

The project is funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment (VROM) and will run until the end of 2009. The further support of funders is being sought in order to expand the Network in the long term.

Presentations from the 2nd ELN-FAB seminar

Participants list from the 2nd ELN-FAB seminar

 

                       


See more pictures from the 2nd ELN-FAB seminar here 

Presentations from the 1st ELN-FAB seminar
 


 

Registration deadline for ELN-FAB seminar extended

19 August - On 24-25 September 2009 the 2nd European seminar on the European Learning Network on Functional AgroBiodiversity (ELN-FAB) will be held in Frick, Switzerland.

The deadline for registering for this seminar has been extended to 11 September 2009.

You can find more information about the preliminary programme and the registration information (both seminar and hotel) by going to the page of the Calendar of events. Read more…
 


 

Announcement of 2nd European seminar on the European Learning Network on Functional AgroBiodiversity

29 June - On 24-25 September 2009 the 2nd European seminar on the European Learning Network on Functional AgroBiodiversity (ELN-FAB) will be held in Frick, Switzerland. The aim of the meeting is to bring together representatives of the various stakeholder groups from several countries to collect and exchange experience. The seminar will be hosted by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL).

The realization that agriculture has to become more sustainable is incorporated in policy instruments from national to global level. Knowledge is being increasingly accumulated on how biodiversity can be mobilized to make agriculture sustainable. Throughout Europe, farmers, researchers, policymakers and other stakeholders are implementing various forms of agrobiodiversity. At present, this practical experience is extremely fragmented and barely accessible. The project 'European Learning Network on Functional Agrobiodiversity' (ELN-FAB) aims to change this.

The network is set to provide a platform and facility for exchange of knowledge and practical experiences with other EU Member States, across country and language borders, between farmers, policymakers, scientists, businesses and NGOs, to enable fast and effective implementation of best practices in order to help to optimize agrobiodiversity benefits and promote sustainable agriculture.

You can find more information about the preliminary programme and the registration information (both seminar and hotel) by going to the page of the Calendar of events. For your information, the preliminary programme will be revised further as other speakers confirm.

If you would like to take part in the seminar, please fill in the registration form and mail it to the organizers before 14 August. Please do not hesitate to contact Veronika Mikos by email at mikos@ecnc.org or phone +31 (0)13 5 944 944 if you require any further information.

Please forward this information to your colleagues or interested persons.

Note: The closing date for registrations has been extended to 11 September 2009.