The EU Agricultural Policy and the Environment: evaluation of the alpine region
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No sector influences the landscape and the environment as strongly as agriculture; and at the same time, no other branch of the economy is so strongly regulated by economic policy measures. It would therefore be very surprising if agricultural policy did not exert a marked influence on the environmental situation. This book pursues the question, how the EU Agricultural Policy influences the landscape and the environment of the Alps. It represents the results and conclusions of the EU Framework IV Project, SUSTALP. The analysis is based on the assumption that the effect of agricultural policy on the environment can vary widely from region to region. From this perspective, the topological, cultural, social, and political diversity typical of the Alps represents an optimal framework for the analysis of the relationship between agrarian policy and the environment. Based on a large quantity of data from all 5.558 Alpine municipalities, cluster analysis was used to identify eight agrarian structure types according to which the whole Alpine region was classified. An operational survey of 1.000 farmers was used to quantify and statistically validate the relationship between EU Agricultural Policy and the environmental situation. The results show that significant leeway is available for creating an environmentally responsible agricultural policy. Built on these results, requirements are formulated and addressed to policy makers, and recommendations for their implementation are provided to facilitate the sustainable development of the Alpine region.
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