This scientific paper is a policy analysis that examines the trends in the use of the Rural Development Programmes in the EU supporting human-carnivore co-existence.
Humans must share their space with other species. Over half of European landscapes are agriculturally managed and intensification of agriculture led to the loss of habitats and species. The intensification of agriculture was partly encouraged by the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). But the CAP has evolved from its initial focus on agricultural production to include private and public goods, e.g. farmer’s subsistence, but also preserving landscape and biodiversity.
Financing rural development in the EU
The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) is a funding instrument of the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). With it, Rural Development Programmes (RDPs) actions are being financed to support a variety of rural development goals: improving the competitiveness of farms, supporting rural economies, and also helping to protect the natural environment. The coexistence of agricultural activities and large carnivores like bear, wolf, lynx and wolverine is one of the challenges addressed by rural development activities.
Management of conflictual species: the case of large carnivores
The coexistence of agriculture and large carnivores presents a challenge. Large carnivores feeding habits come into direct conflict with agricultural activities, particularly livestock farming. Large carnivores range roughly one third of continental Europe and many populations continue to increase in range and size. The main policy response to the resulting increase in livestock depredation has been to compensate farmers for animals lost and to implement livestock protection measures. The conflict surrounding large carnivores, however, is now widely acknowledged to be grounded on more than the material damages. It is linked to a range of socio-psychological effects and power relationships. For this reason, even where compensation and protection measures were implemented, conflict did not necessarily decrease.
This paper provides policy analysis and recommends measures to resolve the human-carnivore conflict
This paper is a policy analysis that examines the trends in the use of the Rural Development Programmes in supporting human-carnivore co-existence. Furthermore, it provides recommendations for managing authorities in the EU member states on which steps to take in order to reach their aims for human-carnivore coexistence. This paper expands upon work carried out by the Secretariat of the EU Platform on the coexistence between people and large carnivores.
Findings and policy recommendations for fostering human-carnivore coexistence
Rural Development Programmes (RDPs) targeting carnivore species have increased. However, measures were limited to practical support in the form of damage prevention methods. This paper demonstrates potential for a broader use of RDPs to facilitate human-carnivore coexistence. It contains concrete measures and steps to be taken on a policy level to support solving the human-carnivore conflict. These recommendations can be helpful for the phase 2021-2027 of the EU Common Agricultural Policy.
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