Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 24, Issue 13, pp 3305–3327 | Cite as

Do conservation and agri-environmental regulations effectively support traditional small-scale farming in East-Central European cultural landscapes?

  • Dániel Babai
  • Antónia Tóth
  • István Szentirmai
  • Marianna Biró
  • András Máté
  • László Demeter
  • Mátyás Szépligeti
  • Anna Varga
  • Ábel Molnár
  • Róbert Kun
  • Zsolt Molnár
Original Paper

Abstract

High biocultural diversity is often found in landscapes where farming practices have preserved diverse habitats and many ‘traditional’ cultural features. We assessed what impacts conservation and agri-environmental regulations had and have on the maintenance of some elements in traditional hay meadow management in two such cultural landscapes (Gyimes—Romania; Őrség—Hungary). Data were gathered by interviews with local farmers and conservation scientists, discussed with farmers. We found that extensive farming was not given adequate weight and explicit function in the regulatory frameworks either in the landscape where traditional farming is still actively practiced, or where it has mostly vanished and/or was transformed. Of the 25 traditional management elements documented in Gyimes, regulations affected seven components directly, and one more indirectly. Four of these impacts were negative and four were positive. Of the 20 traditional management elements in Őrség, 11 elements were regulated, and five more were affected indirectly. Only two elements were affected positively. Our data show that for a more efficient support of traditional farming, more traditional elements must be encouraged, e.g. hayseed scattering, mowing with small machinery, manual cleaning of weeds and shrubs, manual hay gathering and extensive manuring. The role of increasing the spatial scale of regulations, considering the whole socio-ecological system and the need for region-specific regulations are discussed. We argue that in those landscapes where traditional small-scale farming is still actively practiced, decision-makers should understand local management practices and concepts first, instead of imposing requirements on farmers that are alien to the local landscape and society.

Keywords

Agri-environmental schemes Biocultural diversity Hay meadows EU agricultural policy Nature conservation Traditional ecological knowledge 

References

  1. Agnoletti M (2007) The degradation of traditional landscape in a mountain area of Tuscany during the 19th and 20th centuries: implications for biodiversity and sustainable management. For Ecol Manag 249:5–17. doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2007.05.032 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Agnoletti M (2014) Rural landscape, nature conservation and culture: some notes on research trends and management approaches from a (southern) European perspectives. Lands Urban Plan 126:66–73. doi:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2014.02.012 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Babai D (2014) Botanical and ethnoecological investigation of mountain vegetation in Gyimes (Eastern Carpathians, Romania). Dissertation, University of PécsGoogle Scholar
  4. Babai D, Molnár Zs (2013) Multidimensionality and scale in a landscape ethnoecological partitioning of a mountainous landscape (Gyimes, Eastern Carpathians, Romania). J Ethnobiol Ethnomed 9:11. doi:10.1186/1746-4269-9-11 PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Babai D, Molnár Zs (2014) Small-scale traditional management of highly species-rich grasslands in the Carpathians. Agric Ecosyst Environ 182:123–130. doi:10.1016/j.agee.2013.08.018 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Babai D, Molnár Á, Molnár Zs (2014) Traditional ecological knowledge and land use in Gyimes (Eastern Carpathians). MTA Centre for the Humanities and MTA Centre for Ecological Research, Budapest-VácrátótGoogle Scholar
  7. Balázs P, Konkoly-Gyúró É, Bacsárdi V, Király G (2012) The transformation of the landscape explored by historical map-analysis and interviewing in Őrség and Vendvidék region. (Transnational Ecological Network in Central Europe—project report WP4, WP6 (in Hungarian). University of West Hungary, SopronGoogle Scholar
  8. Balczó B, Jancsik A, Kissné Dóczy E, Pandi Á, Pénzes E (2014) National park products. A slice of traditions. Ministry of Rural Development, Budapest. http://magyarnemzetiparkok.hu/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/MNP_termekek_eng.pdf. Accessed 30 Dec 2014
  9. Báldi A, Batáry P, Kleijn D (2013) Effects of grazing and biogeographic regions on grassland biodiversity in Hungary—analysing assemblages of 1200 species. Agric Ecosyst Environ 166:28–34. doi:10.1016/j.agee.2012.03.005 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bánffy E (2004) The 6th Millennium BC boundary in Western Transdanubia and its role in the Central European transition (The Szentgyörgyvölgy-Pityerdomb settlement). Varia Arch Hung 15:451Google Scholar
  11. Batáry P, Dicks LV, Kleijn D, Sutherland WJ (2015) The role of agri-environmental schemes in conservation and environmental management. Cons Biol. doi: 10.1111/cobi.12536 (in print)
  12. Beaufoy G, Marsden K (2010) CAP Reform 2013: last chance to stop the decline of Europe’s high nature value farming? Joint position paper by EFNCP, birdlife, butterfly conservation Europe and WWF Europe. http://www.efncp.org/download/policy-cap-reform-2013.pdf. Accessed 30 Dec 2014
  13. Beaufoy G, Jones G, de Rijck K, Kazakova Y (2008) High nature value farmlands: recognising the importance of South East European landscapes. Final summary report (Bulgaria & Romania). WWF Danube-Carpathian Programme and European Forum on Nature Conservation and Pastoralism (EFNCP). http://www.efncp.org/download/blg_rom/FinalReport_HNVfarming_BulgariaRomania_EFNCP-WWFDCP.pdf. Accessed 30 Dec 2014
  14. Benton TG, Vickery JA, Wilson JD (2003) Farmland biodiversity: is habitat heterogeneity the key? Trends Ecol Evol 18:182–188. doi:10.1016/S0169-5347(03)00011-9 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Csergő AM, Demeter L (2012) Plant species diversity and traditional management in Eastern Carpathians grasslands. European Forum on Nature Conservation and Pastoralism (EFNCP) report. http://www.efncp.org/download/pogany-havas_botany.pdf. Accessed 30 Dec 2014
  16. Csergő AM, Demeter L, Turkington R (2013) Declining diversity in abandoned grasslands of the Carpathian mountains: do dominant species matter? PLoS ONE 8:e73533. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0073533 PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Dahlström A, Iuga A, Lennartsson T (2013) Managing biodiversity rich hay meadows in the EU: a comparison of Swedish and Romanian grasslands. Environ Cons 40:194–205. doi:10.1017/S0376892912000458 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Danson M, de Souza P (2012) Periphery and marginality: definitions, theories, methods and practice. In: Danson M, de Souza P (eds) Regional development in Northern Europe. Peripherality, marginality and border issues. Routledge, London, pp 1–15Google Scholar
  19. Davidson-Hunt IJ (2008) Nature and society through the lens of resilience: toward a human-in-ecosystem perspective. In: Berkes F, Colding J, Folke C (eds) Navigating social-ecological systems. Building resilience for complexity and change, 3rd edn. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 53–82Google Scholar
  20. Demeter L, Kelemen A (2012) Quantifying the abandonment of mountain hay meadows in the Eastern Carpathians. European Forum on Nature Conservation and Pastoralism (EFNCP) report. http://www.efncp.org/download/pogany-havas_abandonment.pdf. Accessed 30 Dec 2014
  21. Dömötör S (1960) The Őrség-region (in Hungarian). Gondolat Kiadó, BudapestGoogle Scholar
  22. Dövényi Z (ed) (2010) Microregions in Hungary (in Hungarian). MTA Research Centre for Astronomy and Earth Sciences, Geographical Institute, BudapestGoogle Scholar
  23. Elbakidze M, Angelstam P, Sandström C, Stryamets N, Crow S, Axelsson R, Stryamets G, Yamelynets T (2013) Biosphere reserves for conservation and development in Ukraine? Legal recognition and establishment of the Roztochya initiative. Environ Conserv 40:157–166. doi:10.1017/S0376892912000434 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Fischer J, Hartel T, Kuemmerle T (2012) Conservation policy in traditional farming landscapes. Conserv Lett 5:167–175. doi:10.1111/j.1755-263X.2012.00227.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Frank B (2011) Biocultural diversity in Europe—a literature review of selected projects. MSc Thesis, Universität für Bodenkultur, ViennaGoogle Scholar
  26. Glasenapp M, Thornton TF (2011) Traditional ecological knowledge of Swiss Alpine farmers and their resilience to socioecological change. Hum Ecol 39:769–781. doi:10.1007/s10745-011-9427-6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Gugič G (2009) Managing sustainability in conditions of change and unpredictability—the living landscape and floodplain ecosystem of the central Sava River Basin. Lonjsko Polje Nature Park Public Service, KrapjeGoogle Scholar
  28. Gyöngyössy P (2008) ‘Gyántásország’: historical data of the Őrség forest for forestry and nature conservation assessment (in Hungarian). Kerekerdő Foundation, SzombathelyGoogle Scholar
  29. Hahn A, Konkoly-Gyuró É, Völler S, Balázs P, Torkar G, Burnet JE (2012) Perception of landscape changes in three trans-boundary focus areas—based on oral history surveys with local inhabitants, stakeholders and experts. Trans EcoNet WP6: Identites and Strategies Action 6.1. University of West Hungary, SopronGoogle Scholar
  30. Hájková P, Roleček J, Hájek M, Horsák M, Fajmon K, Polák M, Jamrichová E (2011) Prehistoric origin of the extremely species-rich semi-dry grasslands in the Bilé Karpaty Mts (Czech Republic and Slovakia). Preslia 83:185–204Google Scholar
  31. Hanspach J, Hartel T, Milcu AI, Mikulcak F, Dorresteijn I, Loos J, von Wehrden H, Kuemmerle T, Abson D, Kovács-Hostyánszki A, Báldi A, Fischer J (2014) A holistic approach to studying social-ecological systems and its application to southern Transylvania. Ecol Soc 19:32. doi:10.5751/ES-06915-190432 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hofer T (2009) Origin of the Gyimes Csángó ethnic group (in Hungarian). In: Hofer T (ed) Anthropology and/or Ethnography. Studies from the Border Region of Two Disciplines. L’Harmattan, Budapest, pp 66–77Google Scholar
  33. Ilyés Z (2007) Landscape changes and the 18–20 century development of the historical cultural landscape in Gyimes (in Hungarian). Eszterházy Károly Főiskola, EgerGoogle Scholar
  34. Kardos L (1943) Traditional foods in the Őrség-region (in Hungarian). Magyar Táj és Népismeret Könyvtára 8, BudapestGoogle Scholar
  35. Király G, Király A, Mesterházy A (2011) Habitat mapping of the Őrség special protection area. Unpublished report, Őrség National Park, ŐriszentpéterGoogle Scholar
  36. Kleijn D, Kohler F, Báldi A, Batáry P, Concepción ED, Clough Y, Díaz M, Gabriel D, Holzschuh A, Knop E, Kovács A, Marshall EJP, Tscharntke T, Verhulst J (2009) On the relationship between farmland biodiversity and land-use intensity in Europe. P Roy Soc Lond B Bio 276(1658):903–909. doi:10.1098/rspb.2008.1509 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Knowles B (2011) Mountain Hay Meadows: the Romanian context and the effects of policy on high nature value farming. In: Knowles B (ed) Mountain hay meadows—hotspots of biodiversity and traditional culture. Society of Biology, London. http://www.mountainhaymeadows.eu/online_publication/02-mountain-hay-meadows-the-romanian-context-and-the-effects-of-policy-on-high-nature-value-farming.html. Accessed 30 Dec 2014
  38. Kőrösi Á, Szentirmai I, Batáry P, Kövér S, Örvössy N, Peregovits L (2014) Effects of timing and frequency of mowing on the threatened scarce large blue butterfly—a fine-scale experiment. Agric Ecosyst Environ 196:24–33. doi:10.1016/j.agee.2014.06.019 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Liu Y, Rothenwöhrer C, Scherber C, Batáry P, Elek Z, Steckel J, Erasmi S, Tscharntke T, Westphal C (2014) Functional beetle diversity in managed grasslands: effects of region, landscape context and land use intensity. Landsc Ecol 29:529–540. doi:10.1007/s10980-014-9987-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Luz F (2000) Participatory landscape ecology—a basis for acceptance and implementation. Landsc Urban Plan 50:157–166. doi:10.1016/S0169-2046(00)00087-6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Lynam T, De Jong W, Sheil D, Kusumanto T, Evans K (2007) A review of tools for incorporating community knowledge, preferences, and values into decision making in natural resources management. Ecol Soc 12:5Google Scholar
  42. MacDonald D, Crabtree JR, Wiesinger G, Dax T, Stamou N, Fleury P, Gutierrez LJ, Gibon A (2000) Agricultural abandonment in mountain areas of Europe: environmental consequences and policy response. J Environ Manag 59:47–69. doi:10.1006/jema.1999.0335 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Maffi L (2001) Biocultural diversity and sustainability. In: Pretty J, Ball AS, Benton T, Guivant J, Lee DR, Orr D, Pfeffer MJ, Ward H (eds) The sage handbook of environment and society. SAGE Publications LTD, London, pp 267–277Google Scholar
  44. Maffi L, Woodley E (2010) Biocultural diversity conservation. A Global Sourcebook, EarthscanGoogle Scholar
  45. Magyar Z (2003) The legends of the Csángós. Csángó’s legends in Gyimes (in Hungarian). Balassi Kiadó, BudapestGoogle Scholar
  46. Meilleur B (2010) The structure and role of folk ecological knowledge in Les Allues, Savoie (France). In: Johnson LM, Hunn ES (eds) Landscape ethnoecology. Concepts of biotic and physical space. Berghahn, New York, pp 159–174Google Scholar
  47. Merunková K, Preislerová Z, Chytrý M (2012) White Carpathian grasslands: can local ecological factors explain their extraordinary species richness? Preslia 84:311–325Google Scholar
  48. Middleton BA (2012) Rediscovering traditional vegetation management in preserves: trading experiences between cultures and continents. Biol Conserv 158:271–279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Mottet A, Ladet S, Coqué N, Gibon A (2006) Agricultural land-use change and its drivers in mountain landscapes: a case study in the Pyrenees. Agric Ecosyst Environ 114:296–310. doi:10.1016/j.agee.2005.11.017 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Palang H, Printsmann A, Konkoly-Gyuró É, Urbanc M, Skowronek E, Woloszyn W (2006) The forgotten rural landscapes of Central and Eastern Europe. Landsc Ecol 21:347–357. doi:10.1007/s10980-004-4313-x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Paracchini ML, Petersen JE, Hoogeveen Y, Bamps C, Burfield I, van Swaay C (2008) High nature value farmland in Europe—an estimate of the distribution patterns on the basis of land cover and biodiversity data. European Commission, EUR 23480 EN. http://agrienv.jrc.ec.europa.eu/publications/pdfs/HNV_Final_Report.pdf. Accessed 30 Dec 2014
  52. Pe’er G, Dicks LV, Visconti P, Arlettaz R, Báldi A, Benton TG, Collins S, Dieterich M, Gregory RD, Hartig F, Henle K, Hobson PR, Kleijn D, Neumann RK, Robijns T, Schmidt J, Shwartz A, Sutherland WJ, Turbe A, Wulf F, Scott AV (2014) EU agricultural reform fails on biodiversity. Science 344:1090–1092. doi:10.1126/science.1253425 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. Peeters A, Warda M (2012) Past and future of European grasslands. The challenge of the CAP towards 2020. In: Goliński P, Warda M, Stypiński P (eds) Grassland—a European resource? Proceedings of the 24th general meeting of the European Grassland Federation, Polish Grassland Society Lublin, pp 17–32Google Scholar
  54. Pitte JR (1994) Historie du paysage francais II. Pluriel, ParisGoogle Scholar
  55. Plieninger T, Höchtl F, Spek T (2006) Traditional land-use and nature conservation in European rural landscapes. Environ Sci Policy 9:317–321. doi:10.16/j.envsci.2006.03.001 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Pócs T, Nagy É, Gelencsér I, Vida G (1958) Vegetation studies in Őrség (in German). Akadémiai Kiadó, BudapestGoogle Scholar
  57. Poschlod P, WallisDeVries MF (2002) The historical and socioeconomic perspective of calcareous grasslands—lessons from the distant and recent past. Biol Conserv 104:361–376. doi:10.1016/S0006-3207(01)00201-4 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Poschlod P, Kiefer S, Tränkle U, Fischer S, Bonn S (1998) Plant species richness in calcareous grasslands as affected by dispersability in space and time. Appl Veg Sci 1:75–90. doi:10.2307/1479087 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Pretty J, Smith D (2004) Social capital in biodiversity conservation and management. Conserv Biol 18:631–638. doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2004.00126.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Rey-Benayas JM, Martins A, Nicolau JM, Schulz JJ (2007) Abandonment of agricultural land: an overview of drivers and consequences. CAB Rev: Perspect Agric Vet Sci Nutr Nat Res 2:057. doi:10.1079/PAVSNNR20072057 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Schmitt T, Rákosy L (2007) Changes of traditional agrarian landscapes and their conservation implications: a case study of butterflies in Romania. Divers Distrib 13:855–862. doi:10.1111/j.1472-4642.2007.00347.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Sólyom A, Knowles B, Bogdán J, Rodics G, Biró R, Nyírő G (2011) Small scale farming in the Pogány-havas Region of Transylvania. Farming statistics, agricultural subsidies, the future of farming. Final Report. Pagan Snowcap Association, Miercurea CiucGoogle Scholar
  63. Sutcliffe LME, Batáry P, Kormann U, Báldi A, Dicks LV, Herzon I, Kleijn D, Tryjanowski P, Apostolova I, Arlettaz R, Aunins A, Aviron S, Baležentienė L, Fischer C, Halada L, Hartel T, Helm A, Hristov I, Jelaska SD, Kaligarič M, Kamp J, Klimek S, Koorberg P, Kostiukova J, Kovács-Hostyánszki A, Kuemmerle T, Leuschner C, Lindborg R, Loos J, Maccherini S, Marja R, Mathe O, Paulini I, Proenca V, Rey-Benayas J, Sans FX, Seifert C, Stalenga J, Timaeus J, Török P, van Swaay C, Viik E, Tscharntke T (2015) Harnessing the biodiversity value of Central and Eastern European farmland. Divers Distrib 20:1–9. doi:10.1111/ddi.12288 Google Scholar
  64. Szabó ÁT (2009): Cooperative communities. Work and relations in a rural farming (in Hungarian) Mentor Kiadó, Târgu MuresGoogle Scholar
  65. Tánczos V (1994) Archaic prayers and incantations in Ghimes region (in Hungarian). In: Zakariás E, Keszeg V (eds) Annals of the Kriza János ethnographic society, vol 2. Kriza János Néprajzi Társaság, Kolozsvár, pp 211–243Google Scholar
  66. Tryjanowski P, Hartel T, Báldi A, Szymański P, Tobolka M, Herzon I, Goławski A, Konvička M, Hromada M, Jerzak L, Kujawa K, Lenda M, Orłowski M, Panek M, Skórka P, Sparks TH, Tworek S, Wuczyński A, Żmihorski M (2011) Conservation of farmland birds faces different challenges in Western and Central-Eastern Europe. Acta Ornithol 46:1–12. doi:10.3161/000164511X589857 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Tscharntke T, Klein AM, Kruess A, Steffan-Dewenter I, Thies C (2005) Landscape perspectives on agricultural intensification and biodiversity—ecosystem services management. Ecol Lett 8:857–874. doi:10.1111/j.1461-0248.2005.00782.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Vandeveer SD, Carmin J (2004) Assessing conventional wisdom: environmental challenges and opportunities beyond eastern accession. Environ Polit 13:315–331. doi:10.1080/09644010410001685254 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Wagner HH, Wildi O, Ewald KC (2000) Additive partitioning of plant species diversity in an agricultural mosaic landscape. Landsc Ecol 15:219–227. doi:10.1023/A:1008114117913 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. WallisDeVries MF, Poschlod P, Willems JH (2002) Challenges for the conservation of calcareous grasslands in Northwestern Europe: integrating the requirements of flora and fauna. Biol Conserv 104:265–273. doi:10.1016/S0006-3207(01)00191-4 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Whiteman G, Cooper WH (2000) Ecological embeddedness. Acad Manag J 43:1265–1282. doi:10.2307/1556349 Google Scholar
  72. Wilson JB, Peet RK, Dengler J, Pärtel M (2012) Plant species richness: the world records. J Veg Sci 23:796–802. doi:10.1111/j.1654-1103.2012.01400.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Winter S, Penker M, Kriechbaum M (2011) Integrating farmers’ knowledge on toxic plants and grassland management: a case study on Colchicum autumnale in Austria. Biodivers Conserv 20:1763–1787. doi:10.1007/s10531-011-0060-x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Wrbka T, Schindler S, Poliheimer M, Schmitzberger I, Peterseil J (2008) Impact of the Austrian agri-environmental scheme on diversity of landscapes, plants and birds. Commun Ecol 9:217–227. doi:10.15561/ComEc.9.2008.2.11 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dániel Babai
    • 1
  • Antónia Tóth
    • 2
    • 3
  • István Szentirmai
    • 3
  • Marianna Biró
    • 4
  • András Máté
    • 5
  • László Demeter
    • 6
  • Mátyás Szépligeti
    • 3
  • Anna Varga
    • 4
  • Ábel Molnár
    • 7
  • Róbert Kun
    • 7
  • Zsolt Molnár
    • 4
  1. 1.MTA Centre for the HumanitiesBudapestHungary
  2. 2.Őriszentpéter City CouncilŐriszentpéterHungary
  3. 3.Őrség National Park DirectorateŐriszentpéterHungary
  4. 4.MTA Centre for Ecological ResearchVácrátótHungary
  5. 5.Dorcadion Kft.KecskemetHungary
  6. 6.Misgurnus Association for Nature ProtectionMiercurea-CiucRomania
  7. 7.Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental SciencesSzent István UniversityGödöllőHungary

Personalised recommendations