Cooperating for grassland conservation: Cross-regional networking event in support of the Natura 2000 biogeographical process, 16th Eurasian Grassland Conference, Graz(Austria), 28th May 2019

T. van der Sluis, Jan Sliva

Research output: Book/ReportReportProfessional

Abstract

During the 16th Eurasian Grassland Conference, organised by the Eurasian Dry Grassland Group (EDGG) together with the University of Graz, a network event took place on the management of dry grasslands. The Regional networking event was held in Graz, Austria in May 2019. A total of 16 experts participated. The program focussed on three discussion topics:
• What are traditional management methods that are still being practiced, and how have they developed/altered over time? • What tools do farmers need in relation to N2000, to maintain Favourable Conservation Status, for monitoring and adaptive management? • Is there a specific regional focus required for action; are there regional differences which require different tools or are tools sufficiently adaptable?

An international team of experts nominated by EU Member States has prepared the Habitat Action Plan 6210, which is very relevant for the conservation of species rich grasslands. The BioGeographical Process (BGP) presented the plan on behalf of Concha Olmeida, one of the authors. Both the presentation and the a summary of the Action plan have been shared with the participants. Several presenters highlighted various aspects of grassland management. In particular relevant discussions were held in relation to forms of traditional management of complex landscape systems, indigenous knowledge, and how current (national) regulations sometimes fail to facilitate the continuation of such management.
The themes were discussed in an interactive way, in small working groups, to stimulate involvement from all participants.
The second part of the workshop continued with following questions:
1. How can we sustain adjusted management methods, and what support measures are needed? 2. How can we ensure ecological and economical sustainability of grassland management independent of financial support? 3. How can we ensure actions towards FCS at various levels?

In summary, the following recurring suggestions were made in the workshop: - more flexibility is necessary to cope with regional differences, in particular with regard to traditional knowledge; - Although the directives come from Brussels, it is the countries that implement them. The Directives are not perfect, but some of the problems arise at national level, and Member States have freedom to adapt the directive to national or regional needs; - subsidies are not always the solution, and sometimes they are the problem. It creates dependency on external funding and does not generate intrinsic motivation of farmers; - still, payments should be sufficient to cover costs of farmers, and to ensure sufficient income; - the price of products should take the quality into account; however, it is noted that in some countries the willingness to pay is much higher than in other, e.g. in the Netherlands or Germany many people want cheap products, whereas consumers in Austria or Italy may value more high-quality (expensive) food.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherEC
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2019
Event16th Eurasian Grassland Conference - Graz, Austria
Duration: 28 May 201928 May 2019

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