Sustainable Agriculture in Protected Areas Commission

Biodiversity in agriculture_photo Waterboard Rivierenland

Parks and Protected Areas represent, now more than ever, ideal territories to promote sustainable agricultural practices and activities favouring regional rural development, by promoting high-quality products, local resources and historical and cultural characteristics.

PAs are places of excellence where to experiment new and advanced forms of agro-environmental policies with particular regard to the typical products and the preservation of the landscape. That ensures the continuity and sustainability of the agricultural practices conducted with traditional methods representing an essential element to keep alive the social, economic, historical and cultural community of the PAs.

Unfortunately, both among the public and the decision-makers, the conflicts between protected areas and agriculture are more known than the huge numbers of positive relations, collaborations and common initiatives already existing and promoted together by PAs and local farmers.

The European Charter for Sustainable Agriculture in Protected Areas, aims to support and make visible an efficient model of agriculture economically viable and socially acceptable, where the practices of sustainable agriculture, sustainable management and enhancement of local products are within the PAs priority objectives.

The ECSAPA won’t be an alternative product/certification (with the risk also of become competitive with the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas – ECSTPA), but rather a tool that allows to assess the contribution that agriculture can offer to protected area management, in terms of nature conservation, and vice-versa.

In fact, just as in the case of tourism, agriculture and silvo-pastoral practices can be an interfering factor and a potential threat to biodiversity but, if properly conducted and interpreted, it can also be a factor that contributes to the PA’s overall strategy. At the same time, the healthy environment and well-managed natural territory in PAs can permit the development of a very high-quality agriculture.

Taking in consideration and trying to compound the needs of nature protection and the interests of local stakeholders (farmers, breeders, artisans and related sectors) the Charter represents an instrument of dialogue and cooperation and a methodological tool to involve the local population in the management and promotion of the PAs.

Overall Mission

To undertake a feasibility study exploring the option of a Charter for Sustainable Agriculture. Make recommendations to EUROPARC Council on future developments.


Co-chair: Pierre Schmelzle, EUROPARC France (FR)

Co-chair: Joao Melo, Cascais Ambiente (PT)

Maria Pia Sparla, Parco Agricolo Sud Milano (IT)

Tom Byrne, Wicklow Uplands Council (IE)

Guido Calvi, Parco dell’ Adamello (IT)

Kaja Lotman, Estonia Environmental Board (EE)

Corrado Teofili, Federparchi – EUROPARC Italy (IT)

France Drugmant and Florence Moesch, Federation of French Regional Parks (FR)

Kees Folkertsma, Drentsche Aa National Park (NL)

Contact person: Stefania Petrosillo – EUROPARC Federation (IT)


sustainable agriculture, protected areas, position paper sustainable agriculture

The EUROPARC position paper “European Protected Areas & Sustainable Agriculture: Working in Partnership for Biodiversity and Rural Development” introduces the role of Protected Areas, illustrated by many successful examples of collaboration with farmers from the EUROPARC network, and reinforces the need for new, better-integrated approaches and more innovative funding mechanisms at regional, national and European level. It builds on 5 key-strategic points outlining concrete ways how Protected Areas’ potential to integrate EU agricultural interests with environmental concerns can be tapped within a reformed CAP framework.