Within the development of LIFE 13 BIO / CY / 001114 AgroLIFE, the RBAPS team in Navarra were invited to participate in the workshop on “High Nature Value Farmlands (HNVf): Science, Policy and Agro-tourism”, which was held from March 1 to 3, 2017, in Limassol, Cyprus.
This meeting was very interesting to both teams, since both projects, AgroLIFE and RBAPS, develop the concept of HNVf on Mediterranean perennial crops (olive and carob groves in AgroLIFE, and olive groves, vineyards and almond trees in RBAPS). AgroLIFE and RBAPS have established similar yet diverse concepts around perennial crops in terms of selecting high nature value elements that are part of the farming system, as well as monitoring procedures. On the other hand, from the RBAPS experience in Spain, we were able to show the application of the concept of results-based payments on the agri-environmental measures, and the consequent weighted payments associated with them.
The workshop was carried out over three days. The first day focused on scientific knowledge, and several presentations were done about HNVf in Cyprus (concept, cartography, birds and the AgroLIFE project itself), HNVf in other countries or projects (Burren in Ireland, RBAPS in Navarra, Spain, Ancient Olive Groves in Italy, BioDiVine in France), and reflection topics (“restriction or opportunity” from Greece, “developing and sharing innovation” from Ireland).
See Carlos’ presentation here
The second day’s presentations focused on agrotourism aspects at a local level, and the role that HNVfs can play in the development of the sector in Cyprus and in the Rural Development Program 2014-2010 of Cyprus, as well as in its agri-environmental measures and LEADER, both as application tools for the economic sustainability of farmers and the supporting sector.
The third and last day an interesting field trip was scheduled to the region of Commandaria. There we were able to enjoy a beautiful area of high nature value where perennial crops are part of a very well preserved extensive and traditional Mediterranean polyculture on a hillside landscape. We also visited an interpretative path inaugurated from the project, where we could check the investments made with the LIFE project in the promotion of agronomic practices that reduce the impact on fauna, flora and soil, the conservation of hedges, the construction of stone walls, and the plantation of native bushes.
The exchange of ideas among our colleagues from Cyprus, Ireland and Spain was highly interesting. There is an aim to continue working together on the conservation of our HNVfs through the implementation of new European projects.