Shepherds in the Romanian Maramures region


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The Forum

Staff and Board of Directors


  • Caitriona Maher

    Caitriona Maher () did her PhD on the effects of farming practices and flood variables on the plant communities and insect assemblages of the Shannon Callows flood meadows in Ireland. Following this, Caitriona worked with the successful Burren Life Programme in 2013, before beginning work with EFNCP in Ireland as Project manager on the Results-Based Agri-environment Pilot Scheme (RBAPS) project in 2015.

  • Jabier Ruiz

    Jabier Ruiz () did his PhD on livestock grazing for wildfire prevention in the Mediterranean, and later worked (as a consultant for IUCN, ILC and WISP) in international projects focused on pastoralism, land tenure and nature conservation. As coordinator of APMM, a grassroots organisation from Andalucia (Spain), he started to work on European policy in collaboration with EFNCP in 2012. Currently based in Belgium, he works part-time for the EFNCP as Network and Communications Coordinator and also does some policy work.

  • John Waldon

    John Waldon () is the HNV Link project Learning Area local coordinator, based in Dartmoor, England. He is currently Chairman of the Dartmoor Commoners’ Council and secretary to the South West Uplands Federation (SWUF) a farmer led initiative to provide a voice for hill farmers in SW England. John is a trustee of the Foundation for Common Land and has provided facilitation to a number of initiatives to improve agri-environment delivery. Prior to working on projects associated with hill farming he worked for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

  • Vyara Stefanova

    Vyara Stefanova () works part-time as project officer for South Eastern Europe in Bulgaria. She has a background in economics and engineering and previously has been involved in initiating, developing and implementing agri-environmental measures in Bulgaria as head of the Agri-environment department of the Ministry of Agriculture. Currently she is sharing that experience in the SEE countries through different projects and initiatives. Vyara joined the Forum in 2010 and since then has been involved in grass-root projects and activities in Western Balkans.

Four members of the Board of Directors (see below) are also members of EFNCP staff: Guy Beaufoy, Gwyn Jones, Karen MacRae and Yanka Kazakova.


  • Guy Beaufoy

    Guy Beaufoy () is the Forum's Policy Manager. His interest in rural-environmental issues in southern Europe began when living in Portugal in the 1980s, followed by an MSc in Rural Resources and Environmental Policy at Wye College (London University). Since then his work has focused on improving the practical integration of environmental concerns into policies affecting rural areas. He has been closely involved in the development of the High Nature Value farming concept since its inception in the early 1990s. Managing a small farm in Spain has brought him into direct contact with the complexities of the CAP and environmental regulations.

  • Gwyn Jones

    Gwyn Jones () is the Forum's Chief Executive. Previously a self-employed consultant, he was a farm advisor for 13 years, giving a range of farm business, agri-environment and CAP paperwork advice. His main interest is the interaction of policy measures with socio-economic realities in marginal areas. Gwyn has been a member of the EFNCP Executive Committee since 1997 and has since then been active in organising and fundraising for many workshops, seminars and conferences. At present he is involved in Forum work in the UK and Ireland, with a wider interest in common land issues.

  • Yanka Kazakova

    Yanka Kazakova () is EFNCP coordinator for South-Eastern Europe, based in Bulgaria. Yanka is an agri-economist by education with PhD in Agricultural policy from the University of National and World Economy, Sofia. Her main interest is the interaction between farming and nature conservation as influenced by policies, markets and general public opinion. Yanka joined EFNCP in 2010 after several years of partnership on projects promoting and studying High Nature Value farming in Bulgaria, Romania and the Western Balkans.

  • Karen MacRae

    Based in Scotland, Karen MacRae () has worked as an independent business consultant and advisor since 2001, assisting many organisations in the Highlands and Islands with management, business, HR and finance issues, carrying out feasibility studies and options appraisals, and running training courses. Karen has undertaken EFNCP’s book-keeping and accounting work and prepared its management accounts since 2005, gradually becoming more involved and taking on more responsibilities. She joined EFNCP’s Board in September 2011, also taking over the duties of Company Secretary.

  • Maya Bankova-Todorova

    Maya Bankova-Todorova’s () background is in economy and management, but a combination of fortunate circumstances brought her into the world of conservation, where she learned more about human-nature interactions. Maya considers European rural areas a key element of countries’ wealth because they are the guardians of traditions and traditional knowledge of farming, culture and of nature. Currently based in the United Arab Emirates, where she manages a multi country project on the protection of marine ecosystems and biodiversity, until 2015 Maya worked for an international conservation organisation in Eastern Europe. Maya joined EFNCP board in 2016, where she can continue to contribute to the protection of European traditional farming and rural areas.

  • Hilary Burgess

    Hilary Burgess () is a Veterinary Advisor for Shetland Island Council (Scotland) and is specialised in community Animal Health initiatives. She has been involved in projects with the Crofters Federation, National Farmers Union and the National Sheep Association (NSA), campaigning on issues of both local and European interest. EFNCP board member since 2016, it was through a joint initiative to achieve changes in the European Regulations on the Electronic Identification of Sheep that she first worked with EFNCP and established links with the European Shepherds Network, which she remains an active member of. Hilary’s family has a sheep and dairy farm in a high nature value area on the South Mainland of Shetland, so Hilary has first-hand experience of both the joys and difficulties of this way of life.

  • Irina Herzon

    Irina Herzon () teaches agroecology in the Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Helsinki (Finland). Her research focus is in applied ecology with an emphasis on conservation in farmland and agri-environmental policy, both in Finland and in the EU context. Her aspiration is to make the HNV farmland concept part of the mainstream agricultural education. Beyond her recent engagement as EFNCP board member, Irina also volunteers as an advisor to BirdLife Finland on agriculture and has been involved into developing and evaluating Finnish agri-environmental policy. Since 2011, her family co-owns a large organic farm, which is the largest manager of coastal meadows in the region (HNV farmland for Finland). It is also a pioneer of non-clear cut forestry in the country. The farm has a nature trail open to public and runs tours, thus contributing to awareness raising.

  • Colin Hindmarch

    Dr Colin Hindmarch () has a background in horticulture, environmental design, strategic planning and ecology. Current concerns include putting the value of ecosystem services at the core of economic planning; developing policies that maintain ecological processes and enhance ‘connectivity’ and safeguard isolated habitats, including those of oceanic islands. This has involved a long-standing, commitment to environmental impact assessment and the development and defence of environmental policy at local, national (UK) and European level through the corresponding institutions.

    As part of this policy work, he has represented several non-government organizations on a number of European Commission committees, including: the Advisory Committee on Agriculture and the Environment; the Biodiversity Strategy Working Group that produced the EU Biodiversity Strategy, and the ad hoc EU Biodiversity Expert Group. His work has also informed Council of Europe thinking on ecological connectivity and championed the need for policy change in European agricultural policy.

  • Davy McCracken

    Professor Davy McCracken’s () interests revolve around obtaining a greater understanding of the complex ecological relationships associated with European High Nature Value farming systems. Professor of Agricultural Ecology and Head of Hill & Mountain Research Centre at Scotland's Rural College, Davy’s interest in farming and wildlife interactions in mountain areas was stimulated by being born and bred on a hill-sheep farm in southern Scotland.

    Davy has been involved with the EFNCP since its first meeting in 1988, has served in a personal capacity as a Director since the establishment of the Forum as a Company Limited by Guarantee in 1995, and performed the duties of Company Secretary between 1995 and 2011. He took on the role of Chair of the Board of Directors in 2016.

    After completing his PhD on research into the diet of the chough, he first worked at the University of Newcastle and then moved to the Joint Nature Conservation Committee where he helped highlight the nature conservation importance of less-intensive farming systems throughout Europe. Since joining the SRUC in 1995, he has had input to a wide variety of projects which aimed not only to assess the relationships between UK and European farming systems and farmland biodiversity but to also highlight the likely implications of agri-environment and wider Common Agricultural Policy reform.

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European Forum on Nature Conservation and Pastoralism
Date: 2017/08/19
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