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Farming has a big influence on Europe's landscapes and the quality of its environment. With farmers managing almost half of the EU's land area, the agricultural sector is a major source of pressure on Europe's environment. Over the past five decades, the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) - accounting for around half of the EU budget — has encouraged the sector to become rapidly modernised and agricultural production itself to increase intensification. More
- Key facts and messages
- European agriculture — 40% of the land — serves societal demands for food production, pollination and energy. Long-observed environmental impacts are mixed: decreasing GHG emissions, less pesticide use but exceedance of nutrients, diffuse... more
- There are fewer farmers and less arable land but demand for food is growing. Europe faces a continuous challenge to reconcile low environmental impact, food security and the viability of rural societies. more
- Reducing agriculture's environmental impacts requires a transition towards innovative, low-input systems. Organic production plays a role in increasing the efficiency of nutrient management and reducing pesticide use. more
- While there has been rapid development in recent years, in 2012 the total area under organic farming was still only 5.7% of total utilised agricultural area, with more than a 60-fold difference in the share of organic farming amongst countries. more
Ammonia emissions in Europe have fallen since 1990, but by not as much as emissions of other air pollutants tracked under an internationally agreed United Nations convention. According to a new report from the European Environment Agency (EEA), ammonia emissions increased in 2014, meaning several EU Member States as well as the EU now exceed their respective ammonia emission limits under the convention.
Air pollution from sources such as transport and agriculture is still being emitted above legal limits in 10 European Union (EU) Member States according to new data published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) today.
We need freshwater for human consumption and economic activities such as food production and industry, but does Europe manage this valuable resource in a sustainable way? An indicator assessment published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) on World Water Day takes a look at the use of freshwater resources across Europe.
Agriculture both contributes to climate change and is affected by climate change. The EU needs to reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions from agriculture and adapt its food-production system to cope with climate change. But climate change is only one of many pressures on agriculture. Faced with growing global demand and competition for resources, the EU’s food production and consumption need to be seen in a broader context, linking agriculture, energy, and food security.
Natural resources and human well-being in a green economy. This report extends the analysis of the green economy, focusing on the environmental pressures associated with resource use patterns and their impact on human health and well-being. Mapping the diverse connections between environmental change and human health impacts involves considerable conceptual complexities, and relies on a relatively fragmented evidence base.
Within the framework of the CAP, the last 50 years have seen increasing attention to biodiversity, but without clear benefits so far. With agriculture covering about half of EU land area, Europe's biodiversity is linked inextricably to agricultural practices, creating valuable agro-ecosystems across the whole of Europe.
A story in the "Our Natural Europe" series
A story in the "Our Natural Europe" series.