Identifying and managing the conflicts between agriculture and biodiversity conservation in Europe-A review

Klaus Henle*, Didier Alard, Jeremy Clitherow, Paul Cobb, Les Firbank, Tiiu Kull, Davy McCracken, Robin F.A. Moritz, Jari Niemelä, Michael Rebane, Dirk Wascher, Allan Watt, Juliette Young

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

540 Citations (Scopus)


This paper reviews conflicts between biodiversity conservation and agricultural activities in agricultural landscapes and evaluates strategies to reconcile such conflicts. Firstly, a historical perspective on the development of conflicts related to biodiversity in agricultural landscapes is presented. Secondly, recent trends in agricultural policies of the European Union that contribute to biodiversity decline in agricultural landscapes are considered. Three major processes responsible for creating biodiversity-related conflicts are described: the intensification of agriculture, the abandonment of marginally productive but High Nature Value Farmland, and the changing scale of agricultural operations. Conflicts created by these processes and approaches to their reconciliation are identified, emphasizing the need for monitoring as an integral part of conflict reconciliation strategies. A generic approach comprising three types of monitoring is developed for measuring success of reconciliation strategies: monitoring of the intensity of the conflict between stakeholders, of the social and economic effects on farmers, and of the status and trends in biodiversity. Surprisingly, we found no evidence in the literature that the first type of monitoring has ever been undertaken for biodiversity-related conflicts in agricultural landscapes. For each type of monitoring, suitable indicators are outlined. Finally, challenges for conflict management in agricultural landscapes are summarized.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-71
Number of pages12
JournalAgriculture, Ecosystems and Environment
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPrint publication - 1 Mar 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Abandonment
  • Agricultural landscapes
  • Agricultural policies
  • Biodiversity conservation
  • Conflict reconciliation
  • Intensification
  • Monitoring
  • Stakeholders


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