High Nature Value Farming in Macedonia
The High Nature Value ‘HNV’ farming concept brings an alternative approach to nature conservation. Instead of focusing solely on maintenance of rare or endangered species and habitats on protected sites, it embraces the need for significantly larger areas of land (including a high proportion of semi-natural habitats) being occupied by farmers and managed with traditional farming methods.
Some of the highest concentrations of well maintained HNV farmland in Europe are to be found in central and south-eastern Europe, including countries in the Western Balkans. This is largely due to the traditional practices still in use in these regions, and Macedonia is no exception with large areas of HNV farmland managed with traditional, low intensity farming methods.
There is an urgent need to develop a wide range of policies to support the socio-economic sustainability of HNV farming and to halt the loss of biodiversity associated with the abandonment of HNV farmland. Since low intensity HNV farming systems are not as economically viable as conventional farming systems, it is argued that they should receive some form of support (e.g. with funds from the EU Common Agricultural Policy) to help sustain them because of the “public benefit” they provide in the form of biodiversity conservation. The most important policy tool currently used for encouraging the continued management of HNV farmland is agri-environment payments.
Within this project, Avalon wants to achieve the following three results:
- The concepts of HNV farming and agri-environment payments are introduced to the Macedonian organizations DEM (Ecologists Movement of Macedonia) and CCI (Center for Civic Initiative) and comprehensively applied to the Macedonian context.
- Awareness is raised and understanding is developed amongst key policy-makers about the importance of HNV farming systems for biodiversity conservation in Macedonia.
- Preliminary steps are taken towards promoting the socio-economic viability and sustainability of HNV farming systems in Macedonia.