The aim of the project was to identify new ways to maintain and improve rural landscapes with enhanced ecological value and with preserved cultural identity. This was done in co-operation with farmers as well as regional organisations and volunteers in order to test best practices with respect to European Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and other relevant EU legislation.
Seven regional pilots have been carried out, which all resulted in the improvement of biodiversity and living conditions.
In Germany, the pilot project realized the implementation of the EU-Water Framework Directive in the intensely used and at the same time highly efficient agricultural area around the Lethe River. As a result, improvements were achieved both for the biological and chemical quality of the river’s water. The future observation and maintenance of the Lethe restoration is assured by the project partners.
Another main achievement was the development of a public-private model for agrarian goods. The model is of high relevance regarding EU politics on agriculture. It offers a new way of encouraging closer ties between the public and rural affairs to help financing changes in farming practice.
Moreover, an efficient production chain from cattle grazing in natural landscape to the end-product has been set up and implemented. Another focus was put on the relation between agriculture, landscape and regional identity. In Norway, a regional symbol as carrier for cultural heritage was developed and implemented. The Flemish pilot worked on a sustainable agricultural production system, which provides better ecological quality of farmland, a restored landscape and the preservation of cultural heritage. Another initiative implemented a biodiversity action plan, which in the end resulted in a positive impact on biodiversity.