Every year, European Member States are obliged to collect and validate land-use information and parcel boundaries for the European Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). These data are valuable resources to make a more direct and actionable assessment of the agricultural impact on environment and climate. Experts from research, administration, remote sensing and data analysis fields agreed on three important indicators that are helping both policy makers and farmers to develop strategies to measure that impact. An indicator framework will also provide actionable insights to farmers on what they can do to improve their impact.

In a one day workshop hosted by NIVA member ASP on 5 February 2020 in Paris the experts discussed the relevance of parcel boundaries and land use information (crop types) to make a better assessment of environment and climate related indicators. In particular the assessment of (1) carbon budget, (2) biodiversity conservation and (3) nitrate leaching will benefit greatly from this yearly data on where what crops are grown. The impact on environment and climate are very local and non-linear aspects that require to make agricultural activity as temporal and spatial explicit as possible. Modelling the individual field with its specific soil, climate and crop management will provide the relevant knowledge on the effects of different practices in different circumstances. By following this approach, these indicators will provide actionable knowledge to farmers too, as it will indicate where and how much changes in practice (i.e. crop rotation, winter cover etc.) contribute to sustainability.

In a short policy brief LINK TO THE PDF, the NIVA project made its findings of the workshop available to a wider audience for further discussion and elaboration.

Reactions are welcomed at info@niva4cap.eu