- CONTRASTED VIEWPOINTS ON BIODIVERSITY WITHIN THE CAP
When assessing the role of the CAP for biodiversity conservation (for which farmed landscapes play a key role), actors have two opposing outlooks: some value the changes that have taken place in the CAP in the last 10 years, such as the decoupling of direct payments or the strengthening of cross-compliance; for others, these changes are too general and there is an urgent need for its instruments to be much better targeted at biodiversity loss and the conservation of farming systems and practices that favor biodiversity.
- TOWARDS A SYSTEMIC APPROACH OF BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION
A critique of the CAP is difficult to separate from wider criticism of the industrialisation of agriculture and the whole food supply chain that took place from the 1960s onwards. The integration of farming systems, and singularly animal production systems, into wider agri-food complexes was a huge change. Biodiversity loss has been due to the competition between agrarian systems and regions. The CAP has supported this trend: before 1992, market regulation favored large commodity producers. From 1992 onwards, the central agent aimed by CAP are the managers of the farming system. But those exist in a wider socio-economic and regulatory context that influences their responses to a given policy signal.
- "DOING GOOD" RATHER THAN "DOING BETTER"
The instruments included in CAP2020 proposals that intend to deliver biodiversity conservation are inadequately implemented or poorly designed. A "doing better: producing more with less" approach is not enough, and might even be counterproductive if it is implemented in productive areas while marginal ones are devoted to afforestation. Biodiversity conservation requires "doing good" in absolute terms. It depends on the future of economically viable farming systems that conserve and manage semi-natural vegetation (saltus) for production purposes. Biodiversity is compatible with maintaining a high level of agricultural activity and innovation in biodiversity-friendly farming systems, provided the incentives and supports given by the CAP and other policies are consistent and well targeted.