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Environment / land use

The results from LEITAP show that, under the Health Check scenario, a greater proportion of land would be under production than is the case without compulsory modulation. The model indicates that compulsory modulation has a very small positive effect on land use, retaining some land under production across the EU27 that might otherwise have been abandoned or have moved into alternative land uses, such as forestry (Figure 15.8). While the reduction of Pillar 1 payments alone would be likely to see a small proportion of land go out of production, the increased availability of funding in Pillar 2, particularly in relation to the agri-environment and LFA measures, more than makes up for this.

In practice, these results seem surprisingly small. Given the extent of implementation of agri-environment and LFA measures, with schemes operating in all 27 member states, one might have anticipated greater effects on land use than those modelled; however, the general orientation of response indicated through the modelling is certainly what we would expect to see in reality.

Figure 15.8. Agricultural land use - EU15 / EU27

% change Health Check scenario relative to no modulation in 2013

Source: LEITAP, 2008

Figure 15.9 illustrates the influence of national co-financing on compulsory modulation receipts within Pillar 2 on these results. Without national co-financing, these figures indicate that, despite the positive effects of the LFA and agri-environment measures, land would continue to leave agricultural production. This highlights the importance of sufficient funds being allocated to such schemes to allow their coverage to be adequate to retain sufficient land of high nature and landscape value under agricultural use.

LEITAP also suggests that compulsory modulation under the Health Check scenario leads to a greater retention in the area of grassland than the area of arable land. Figure 15.10 shows that, under the Health Check scenario, approximately 0.6% more grassland is retained in production than would be the case without compulsory modulation — largely due to Pillar 2 environmental measures — while the area under crops is reduced by 0.3%, largely as a result of the reductions in Pillar 1 payments. These losses are likely to be primarily from marginal arable areas. This effect is mainly influenced by payments made under the agri-environment, LFA and Natura 2000 measures, a greater proportion of which are focused on livestock systems than arable farmland. This would appear to indicate that increased expenditure on such measures is helping to reduce grassland decline at the margins, although, as above, the impact is likely to be more significant in reality.

Figure 15.9. Impact of co-financing on EU27 land use of primary agriculture with 13% modulation

% change relative to no modulation in 2013

Source: LEITAP, 2008.

Figure 15.10. EU27 Agricultural land use - grassland / cropland

% change Health Check scenario relative to no modulation in 2013

Source: LEITAP, 2008.

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