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Biodiversity conservation and the CAP

Question écrite de M. Bronis ROPĖ - Commission européenne

Question de M. Bronis ROPĖ,

Diffusée le 2 juillet 2023

Subject: Biodiversity conservation and the CAP

Footnote 5 of Annex III to Regulation 2021/2115 links the conditions for eligibility to forest areas outside the scope of the CAP, with an exemption from the application of the GAEC 8 requirements for countries with a forest cover greater than 50%. This assumes a priori that forest cover contributes to biodiversity conservation.

According to data held by the Land Fund of the Republic of Lithuania1, there were 3.0 million ha of arable land in Lithuania in 2022. In that same year, 2.28 million ha of arable land were declared. These figures are largely stable from year to year.

This means that about 24% of the arable land in Lithuania is not used for production and is usually covered with natural vegetation, including ligneous vegetation.

In light of the above:

1) Does the Commission consider that the areas of arable land in Lithuania that are not declared, not used for production and not covered with natural vegetation contribute to the conservation of biodiversity?

2) If not, why and how do they differ from wooded areas in terms of their contribution to biodiversity conservation?

Submitted:3.7.2023

1 https://www.nzt.lt/go.php/lit/Lietuvos-respublikos-zemes-fondas, Land Fund of the Republic of Lithuania 2022,

page 6, line 1, column 4.

Réponse - Commission européenne

Diffusée le 15 août 2023

Answer given by Mr Wojciechowski on behalf of the European Commission (16 August 2023)

Conditionality applies only to farmers applying for area‐ and animal-based support under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Strategic plans.

Obligations related to non-productive areas and features under the first requirement of GAEC 8 (2) are applicable to arable land as defined by Member States in accordance with Article 4(3), point a) of Regulation (EU) 2021/2115 (3). The main objective is to improve on-farm biodiversity via the maintenance of non-productive areas and features.

Woody features located on arable land can potentially be counted for the sake of the first requirement under GAEC 8, if this is foreseen in the relevant CAP Strategic plan.

Annex III of Regulation (EU) 2021/2115 provides for a few situations in which Member States can exempt farmers from the implementation of the first requirement of GAEC 8.

Some exemptions take into account the agronomic context and biodiversity inputs, such as the preponderance of forest (greater than 50%) but also the preponderance of permanent grassland (greater than 75%).

However, regarding the undeclared agricultural area in Lithuania, these legal provisions do not apply as GAEC 8 targets declared arable land.

Therefore, it is not, in the context of the CAP Strategic Plans, the role of the Commission to assess the contribution of undeclared agricultural areas in Lithuania to halting biodiversity losses and to compare the situation with forest areas.

1 ∙ ⸱ https://www.nzt.lt/go.php/lit/Lietuvos-respublikos-zemes-fondas, Land Fund of the Republic of Lithuania 2022, page 6, line 1, column 4.

2 ∙ ⸱ Good agricultural and environmental condition standard 8 as listed in Annex III to Regulation (EU) 2021/2115.

3 ∙ ⸱ https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A32021R2115





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