HNV farming in France
In France, EFNCP has been working for many years in partnership with AScA, with funding from the European Commission and French Ministries of Agriculture and Environment.
Since the first draft HNV farming map was developed for France in 2006, stakeholders have become progressively more aware that preserving and supporting HNV farming in the French context, and especially at the local level, is in their interest. More recently, HNV has been gaining visibility in the national debate with other NGOs and farmers associations, for example in relationship with PAC 2013 network.
The huge variety of French landscapes is highly related to the diversity of agriculture. As represented on the map below, type 1 HNV farming systems, mostly based on livestock breeding, are dominant in the French context, but type 2 is represented as well, even if more difficult to characterize.
Schematic envelopes of the main HNV agrarian systems showing location of the 2010 case-studies
France 2014: Contributing to the policy debate and action
Our work in 2014 developed the work undertaken in 2013:
In Vercors, the study program phase undertaken since 2010 came out onto a more operational one. The Parc Naturel Régional du Vercors (PNRV) will submit a comprehensive agri-environmental development project (PAEC) for the 2014-2020 programming period. This project focuses on HNV conservation - a unique case in France - combining agri-environment payments and transversal actions directed towards land access, cheese marketing and local market actions, all adapted to the variety of situations found in the PNRV. EFNCP-AScA strongly contributed to this project, with inputs in a wider working group gathering LPO (a bird conservation NGO), CEMAGREF (a research institute), APAP (a farmers organization), SUACI (an applied research organization) and ENGREF-AgroParisTech (a graduate institute in science and engineering).
As for TYFA, 2014 was the year when the project was presented to a wider audience. In March, a meeting has been jointly organised with IDDRI, involving several key European NGOs in order to present them the project. As a follow-up of this meeting, a project core group able to lead the scenario exercise in the coming years was established. In parallel, a methodological group has been set in order to provide the project with academic input.
Some events in which EFNCP France participated in 2013:
- Conference given at Société Française d'Économie Rurale (Agricultural Policy seminar) (SFER, June 2014, Paris)
- Keynote presentation given at Joint Meeting of FAO-CIHEAM Mountain Pastures and Mediterranean Forages Resources networks and Mountain Cheese network (June 2014, Clermont Ferrand)
France 2013: From local to global
Three main lines of work were pursued in 2013:
- Taking forward the Vercors project. The study area was widened to other sub-regions of the Vercors Regional Park. While work in 2010-2012 had focused on mountain grassland dairy systems agrarian system, the 2013 study considered mixed-farming areas (Trièves) and mixed extensive livestock systems.
Figure 1 - Trièves; an example of mixed-crop livestock agrarian system with - fragile - HNV characteristics © Xavier Poux
- Contributing to a feasibility study of a scenario exercise on agroecology - and its contribution to HNV farming in Europe. This action had been undertaken jointly with IDDRI and aimed at involving an NGO community sharing a common interest in developing low-input farming, considering the whole food chain transition. A comprehensive concept note has been issued, showing the purpose of the exercise within the policy making process, namely to reveal the long term issues relating to agriculture and food chain development, as well as the methodology needed to support this intention. The project is to be called Ten Years for Agroecology (TYFA).
- Participating in the CAP reform process, notably a part of the PAC 2013 platform. EFNCP contributed to inputs regarding implementation of the CAP greening process, communicating the permanent pasture and HNV issues in the French NGO community. The list of press releases of PAC 2013 issued, including the ones supported by EFNCP can be found here.
Some events in which EFNCP France participated in 2013:
- High level conference on rolling out the greening measures and recommendations for biodiversity-friendly rural development policy post 2013 (CEE-Web for biodiversity, October 2013, Brussels)
- Séminaire LandLife, L'écologisation des politiques publiques et le nouveau pacte social - enseignements tirés des politiques agri-environnementales (Conservatoire d'Espaces Naturels, March 2013, Montpellier)
- Séminaire 2013: L'évaluation des services fournis par les prairies, un défi interdisciplinaire entre propriétés des écosystèmes et bénéfices pour la société (INRA, December 2013, Clermont-Ferrand)
France 2011: Characterisation of HNV farming at the regional scale
In 2011, the 2010 work in the Vercors was taken forward, including some theoretical work to design an ‘easy to develop’ methodology to mobilise local knowledge and complete the picture of large scale interactions between nature and farming, within a systems-focussed analysis. This methodological proposition was formalized in a document, and will be further discussed in 2012 and incorporates the findings of the work carried out in France in 2010 on HNV characterisation (Vercors, Pays d’Auge, Haut-Jura – see below). The partnership with Vercors Natural Park also resulted in the production by AScA and the Forum of a communication aimed at policy makers illustrating the most interesting results of the HNV farming characterisation work.
On November 2011, the European Forum for Nature Conservation and Pastoralism (www.efncp.org) and the OIER SUAMME organised a conference in Montpellier (France), on High Nature Value (HNV) farming in the Mediterranean context, with the support of the European Commission.
This conference was aimed at French participants involved in the field of nature conservation and agriculture, at regional or local level: civil servants, farmers, NGO’s, researchers... The aim was to dress a common picture from the local initiatives on HNV farming, launched during 2010, to discuss the results, and propose perspectives for the next years, in the context of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) beyond 2013.
Conference on High Nature Value (HNV) farming, Montpellier, France
At the seminar on "Permanent pastures and meadows" in May 2011 in Brussels, the French perspective was presented by the Forums HNV officer for France.
A brief article in Italian assessing the impact of French agri-environment schemes on HNV farming.
France 2010: Agricultural practices in HNV farmland – impacts on biodiversity
The 2009 French conference facilitated the launching of a range of partnerships, amongst which 3 led to detailed case-studies of HNV farming: in Pays d’Auge (Normandy) by EFNCP itself; in Vercors (Northern Alps) by a trainee monitored by the Natural Park of Vercors and EFNCP and in Haut-Jura by a trainee monitored by the Natural Park of Haut-Jura.
The case-studies in Pays d’Auge and Vercors have been undertaken within an agrarian system approach, which allows an understanding of the gradation from low nature value practices to HNV practices, both at a landscape level and across different types of farming systems. From our point of view, as presented during the Vilm conference on September, this approach leads to an accurate description of farming systems, which helps to identify policy needs to maintain HNV features.
In Vercors, the case-study has been realized in the scope of a LEADER project. The follow-up of the study has been done by a group constituted by the natural park of Vercors, LPO (a bird conservation NGO), CEMAGREF (a research institute), APAP (a farmers organization), SUACI (an applied research organization) and ENGREF-AgroParisTech (a graduate institute in science and engineering). (Oral presentation in French. Report to be transmitted). The work will go on in 2011 within the scope of the LEADER project, focusing on methodological generalization, communication and local debate.
In Pays d’Auge, the case study has been realized by EFNCP staff. The follow-up of the study has been carried out by a group consisting of the Chambre d’agriculture du Calvados (Farmer organisation), state administrations (DDT du Calvados, DREAL Basse-Normandie), Conseil Général du Calvados (local authority), environmental NGOs, Lycée agricole du Robillard (agricultural school), cheese PDO organization, Pays d’Auge expansion (local development organization).(Oral presentation in French. Report to be transmitted)
In addition, in Haut-Jura a study (in French) with a different approach was realized at the scale of an organic cheese cooperative, to assess the links between agricultural practices and biodiversity. EFNCP was part of the follow-up group.
Seminar on HNV farming
To feed the conclusions on these studies into the national debate, a seminar was organised in Pays d’Auge (Normandie) on December 2nd and 3rd 2010 to bring together the community interested in HVN farming in France. Amongst the participants, pastoralist groups from the South were represented, as well as the partners in a project about HNV farming in mountainous national parks (in French).
During the seminar, three workshops were organised on the following issues:
- How to characterise HNV farming? For what purpose? Which methods and level of analysis to use?
- Why and how to improve schemes already in existence at the national level by taking into account HNV criteria?
- What room for manoeuvre is there for French proponents of HNV farming in the CAP leading up to 2013?
France 2009: HNV farmland in France
In 2009, in co-operation with AScA, a brochure on HNV farming was prepared, giving general information about the origin of the concept, the characterisation of HNV farming in the French context, and what is at stake from a policy perspective.
On October 2009, a conference directed to French stakeholders took place in Paris in order to raise awareness about HNV issues. As part of the preparatory work, a trainee was taken on to get some primary information about biodiversity and farming relationship, in 3 specific areas : Pays d’Auge (Normandie), Vercors (Rhône Alpes) and Périgord Noir (Aquitaine).
The conference was a fundamental step in HNV promotion at a time when most stakeholders did not know about the concept, One outcome of the conference was a growing realisation that the HNV farming concept could meet the needs and aspirations of some of the local and regional stakeholders involved in territorial projects dealing with agricultural development and biodiversity. It could provide both:
- a conceptual frame to address the biodiversity issue at the landscape and agrarian system level of analysis;
- a policy oriented frame, allowing the proposing of schemes adapted to the needs of biodiversity management at farm and regional level.