[KM05]
High nature value farmland areas
Assessments published: [ 2008 ]

The indicator presents the share of utilised agricultural areas in high nature value areas (HNVA).

Baldock (1993, 1995) analysed general characteristics of extensive agricultural systems and defined high nature value areas in terms of biodiversity and management methods as areas with low stocking density, low level of chemical input and low labour intensity. Based on these points, Andersen (2003) created a typology of high nature value areas which distinguishes:
- farmland with a high share of semi-natural vegetation,
- farmland with predominantly low-intensity agriculture or a mosaic of intensively cultivated land and land with semi-natural vegetation, and
- farmland with the production of rare plant and animal species.

The share of agricultural land in the above mentioned types is determined by using various methodologies and data sources. The sources for the high nature value farmland areas from the first and the second indent are data on land use from the CORINE Land Cover database, combined with the FADN farm accountancy data. Data for the high nature value farmland areas from the third and the fourth indent are taken from databases on the propagation of individual plant and animal species. The indicator is complemented with indicators No. 08 (consumption of fertilizers), 09 (consumption of pesticides), 32 (landscape state), and in terms of contents, it is further complemented with indicators No. 33 (impact on habitats and biodiversity) and 35 (impact on landscape diversity).

The share of high nature value farmland areas in Slovenia is estimated on the basis of the CORINE Land Cover data on land use from 2000. Since the secondary source data (FADN) are not yet available, we additionally supported the estimate with the estimate of the share of such areas based on the Agricultural Land Use Monitoring database established in Slovenia by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food. The calculation of the shares for both data sources is based on three scenarios (minimum, medium, maximum). The average or medium scenario was selected as the most probable and most realistic with regard to the inclusion of individual categories of land.

Image KM5-1: Estimated share of farmland in high nature value areas in the framework of various scenarios according to the Agricultural Land Use Monitoring database

Source: Agricultural Land Use Monitoring, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food, 2008; calculations by the Agricultural Institute of the Republic of Slovenia, 2008.


Image KM5-2: Estimated share of farmland in high nature value areas in the framework of various scenarios according to the CORINE Land Cover database

Source: CORINE Land Cover 2000, European Environment Agency, Environmental Agency of the Republic of Slovenia and Surveying and Mapping Authority of the Republic of Slovenia, 2003; calculations by the Agricultural Institute of the Republic of Slovenia, 2005.


Image KM5-3: Estimated share of high nature value farmland areas in EU-15 countries

Source: CORINE Land Cover 2000; Farm Accountancy Data Network, 2005.


The need to introduce measures for the conservation of high nature value areas has long been clearly expressed in the EU legislation. The unquestionable development goal is determined at the programme level in the EU Rural Development Policy. In terms of contents, the conservation policy can be divided into development measures for narrower areas and measures for wider high nature value areas. The first group includes measures for the conservation of biodiversity (bird and habitat directive), while the second groups includes the remaining measures of the common agricultural policy and rural development policies, particularly policies for a faster development of less-favoured areas and agri-environmental payments. Slovenia will find it difficult to conserve the high level of biodiversity and prevent it from declining without additional incentives.

High nature value farmland areas hold important opportunities to achieve higher biodiversity and protection of endangered habitats in individual rural areas. In general, they can be denoted as characteristic areas of extensive agriculture with a great diversity of biological species and habitats.

Due to its geographic position and variegated natural conditions, Slovenia ranks among the European countries with the highest degree of biodiversity. This also applies to agriculture, where natural conditions for the conservation of biological species and habitats are very advantageous due to the prevailing use of grassland. The majority of high nature value farmland areas are located in western and southern Slovenia, particularly in the hilly and mountainous regions.

According to rough estimates based on the data on land use, between 60 % and 80 % of utilised agricultural areas are located in high nature value areas. The share of these areas is estimated on the basis of the CORINE Land Cover data on land use from 2000, and the Agricultural Land Use Monitoring database from the same year. The estimate is based on the so-called average or medium scenario, which includes agricultural land with the prevailing extensive land use:
• in the framework of land categories included in the CORINE Land Cover – pastures, complex cultivation patterns, land principally occupied by agriculture with significant areas of natural vegetation, natural meadows, bogs and rushes, transitional woodland shrub and continental bogs,
• in the framework of Agricultural Land use Monitoring – extensive orchards, intensive meadows, extensive meadows, land under afforestation, riparian growth, bogs, rushes and other marshy land.

Various types of grassland and related land forms represent the largest share of the high nature value areas. In Slovenia, distinctly dispersed and variegated land has an important impact on the extent of high nature value farmland areas. According to the CORINE Land Cover methodology, this land represents more than 40 % of all high nature value areas.

Data for Slovenia
Determination of the share of farmland in the above types is based on the use of different methodologies and data sources. The source for the first two types of high nature value farmland areas (farmland with a high share of semi-natural vegetation and farmland with predominantly low-intensity agriculture or a mosaic of intensively cultivated land and land with semi-natural vegetation) is mostly the CORINE database on land use combined with the FADN farm accountancy data. The sources for the third type of high nature value farmland areas (farmland with a production of rare plant and animal species) are in most cases the databases on the distribution of individual plant and animal species.

In Slovenia, the share of high nature value farmland areas is estimated using the CORINE Land Cover database on land use from 2000. Since the secondary source data (FADN) are not yet available, we additionally supported the estimate with the estimate of the share of such areas based on the Agricultural Land use Monitoring database established in Slovenia by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food. The calculation of the shares for both data sources is based on the preparation of three scenarios (minimum, medium, maximum). The average or medium scenario was selected as the most probable and most realistic with regard to the inclusion of individual categories of land. It includes agricultural land with the prevailing extensive land use:
- in the framework of land categories, included in the CORINE Land Cover – pastures, complex cultivation patterns, land principally occupied by agriculture with significant areas of natural vegetation, natural meadows, bogs, and rushes, transitional woodland shrub and continental bogs,
- in the framework of Agricultural Land use Monitoring – extensive orchards, intensive meadows, extensive meadows, land under afforestation, riparian growth, bogs, rushes and other marshy land.

Data for Europe
CORINE Land Cover 2000, Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN)

20 November 2008 (graphs and tables)

Important note and apology: English texts in chapters Comments and Data and sources haven't been updated yet and refer to the indicator version from 2006. We hope to provide English translations soon.

Tomaž Cunder, Kmetijski inštitut Slovenije