Agri-environmental indicators (AEIs) track the integration of environmental concerns into the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) at EU, national and regional levels.
Agriculture and the Environment
With about 40 % of the EU's land area being farmed, agriculture has a very important impact on the natural environment:
- Over the centuries, farming has created and maintained a variety of valuable semi-natural habitats on which a wide range of wildlife depend for their survival.
- Farming practices can have an adverse impact on natural resources, such as pollution of soil, water and air, fragmentation of habitats, and a loss of wildlife.
The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the Environment
This relationship between agriculture and the environment has to be taken into account when integrating environmental concerns and safeguards into the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). In the CAP, emphasis is placed on reducing the risks of environmental degradation and enhancing the sustainability of agro-ecosystems through:
- Cross-compliance criteria on agricultural market measures − as a condition of receiving direct payments, farmers must comply with certain requirements, including some related to environmental protection
- Targeted agri-environmental measures − as part of Rural Development programmes, agri-environmental payments are available to farmers who commit to agri-environmental management schemes for a minimum 5-year period
Presentation of the Data
In its Communication COM(2006) 508 final in 2006, the European Commission adopted 28 agri-environmental indicators (AEIs) to assess the interaction between the CAP and the environment. These AEIs, listed in the analytical framework, track:
- Farm management practices
- Agricultural production systems
- Pressures and risks to the environment
- The state of natural resources