Policy Field Guide Gelderse Poort
The appearance of the European landscape is largely determined by agriculture – simply because this economic activity covers more than 50% of Europe’s land surface. Forestry comes a good second, covering 35%. Changes in agriculture and forestry therefore impact immediately on our landscapes and the animal and plant communities associated with them. And big changes in land use do lie ahead of us – especially in agriculture.
The fact that land-use is changing is no secret. Although the public at large may not yet be aware of it, policy makers and politicians know what’s going on. It is no coincidence that the Common Agricultural Policy increasingly offers possibilities for ‘rural development’ in the broad sense, instead of being solely directed towards supporting agriculture. However, changing policies is one (important!) thing, changing practices is another.
An example is illustrated in this policy field guide. It shows how people living in the Gelderse Poort area of the Netherlands are successfully building a new economy, which is not only helping to restore ecological processes and landscape quality, but is also creating new jobs. The whole process takes place on a voluntary basis, is market driven and is independent of long term subsidies.