Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 20, Issue 11, pp 2365–2378

Which habitats of European importance depend on agricultural practices?

  • Lubos Halada
  • Doug Evans
  • Carlos Romão
  • Jan-Erik Petersen
Original Paper


The aim of this paper is to identify the habitat types listed in the Habitats Directive Annex I that require low-intensity agricultural management for their existence. We assessed the link between the Annex I habitat types and agricultural practices in order to identify habitat types that depend on the continuation of agricultural practices or whose existence is prolonged or spatially enlarged via blocking or reducing the secondary succession by agricultural activities. 63 habitat types that depend on or which can profit from agricultural activities—mainly grazing and mowing—were identified. They are classified into 2 groups: (1) habitats fully dependent on the continuation of agricultural management; (2) habitats partly dependent on the continuation of agricultural management. This paper also briefly discusses habitat types for which either doubts remain on their dependence on agricultural management, or the relation to extensive farming practices exists only in part of their area of distribution in Europe or under certain site conditions, respectively. Assessments of the conservation status of habitats of European Importance by 25 EU Member States in 2007 showed that habitats identified by us as depending on agricultural practices had a worse status than non-agricultural habitats.


Agricultural management Favourable conservation status Grazing Habitats Directive High Nature Value Farmland Mowing Natura 2000 Ostermann list 



Common Agricultural Policy


Commission of the European Communities


European Environment Agency


European Union


High Nature Value Farmland


Joint Nature Conservation Committee


Joint Research Centre of the European Union


United Nations Environment Programme

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lubos Halada
    • 1
  • Doug Evans
    • 2
  • Carlos Romão
    • 3
  • Jan-Erik Petersen
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Landscape EcologySlovak Academy of SciencesNitraSlovakia
  2. 2.European Topic Centre on Biological DiversityMuséum national d’Histoire naturelleParisFrance
  3. 3.European Environment AgencyCopenhagen KDenmark

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