New paper on the biodiversity impacts of the reformed EU common agricultural policy (CAP)

I have strayed on quite applied territory, by coauthoring a paper on the biodiversity impacts of the recently enacted reform of the EU common agricultural policy (CAP) in tomorrow’s issue of Science. I hope the opening paragraph does a good job at summarizing the main point.

In December 2013, the European Union (EU) enacted the reformed Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for 2014–2020, allocating almost 40% of the EU’s budget and influencing management of half of its terrestrial area. Many EU politicians are announcing the new CAP as “greener,” but the new environmental prescriptions are so diluted that they are unlikely to benefit biodiversity. Individual member states (MSs), however, can still use flexibility granted by the new CAP to design national plans to protect farmland habitats and species and to ensure long-term provision of ecosystem services.

For details, check out the paper, it’s short enough.

Addition 6.6.14: For your interest, or those who are not behind the paywall: discussions in the media in English: ScienceCodex, BBC; or in German: Zeit, Welt.


Pe’er, G.; Dicks, L. V.; Visconti, P.; Arlettaz, R.; Báldi, A.; Benton, T. G.; Collins, S.; Dieterich, M.; Gregory, R. D.; Hartig, F.; Henle, K.; Hobson, P. R.; Kleijn, D.; Neumann, R. K.; Robijns, T.; Schmidt, J.; Shwartz, A.; Sutherland, W. J.; Turbé, A.; Wulf, F. & Scott, A. V. (2014) EU agricultural reform fails on biodiversity. Science, 344, 1090-1092.

Agricultural landscape in Germany. Credits: Guy Pe'er

Agricultural landscape in Germany. Credits: Guy Pe’er

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