Marginal agricultural areas in Europe, remote from geographical perspective or not suitable for intensive agriculture, are still hosting high biodiversity of natural and semi-natural grassland that has formed through interaction between various ecosystems and extensive farming practices. However, due to change in rural lifestyle, such regions are experiencing depopulation and land abandonment, which results in overgrowing of the fields by shrubs and consequent loss of grassland biodiversity. This is also the case in the Baltic States where high rate of land abandonment was experienced since beginning of 1990ies.
With EU accession and availability of agricultural subsidies the share of managed agricultural land has increased. However, measures within the Rural Development Programmes are more tending to promote agricultural production and intensive use of land, instead of continuing extensive, nature-friendly management practices.
This project aims to support maintenance of biodiversity and ecosystem services provided by grasslands, through encouraging ecosystem-based approach to planning and economically viable grassland management. The project shall demonstrate opportunities for multifunctional use of grasslands as basis for sustainability of rural areas and stimulus for local economies.
More detailed information: on project’s website