High Nature Value Farming

The overall objective of this cluster is to explore the implementation of various traditional agricultural practices in High Nature Value (HNV) areas (primarily Natura 2000 sites) aimed at nature protection and biodiversity conservation. High Nature Value farming is seen in its complexity not only as an environmental solution but also as having a broader impact on the economic and social sustainability of agriculture and rural development at regional level.

The study corresponds to the key EU concept and policy that approaches nature-conservation and biodiversity protection in Europe through low intensity, low input farming systems. The innovation in the HNV cluster combines traditional extensive farming practices (of pre-modern origin) with a modern vision and behaviour towards nature, such that HNV areas are preserved, maintained and reproduced in their natural rhythm and course.

The Bulgarian case study of HNV farming aims at implementing traditional extensive land management practices that preserve and maintain the existing biodiversity and habitats. The French case study focuses on conservation of agro-pastoral areas and landscape through re-opening mountains wastelands and opening farmland that lead to the revitalization of agriculture and sustainability of the rural municipalities in the region. The Portuguese case study is a collective efficiency strategy elaborated to stimulate sustainable development in the low density rural areas of the region of Alentejo, valuing their natural resources, historical heritage, traditional knowledge etc. for economic, social and biophysical sustainability.