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Photo: Andrea Lichtenecker

Naturefriends demand a secure financing basis for environmental protection measures in the next EU funding period

Vienna, 22 May 2014 / On the occasion of the International Biodiversity Day, Naturefriends warn of the danger of increasing biodiversity loss in our cultural landscape

"It's not only bees - an increasing number of butterfly and bird species also disappear from our landscapes" says Andrea Lichtenecker, deputy secretary general of Naturefriends International.

There is a plethora of reasons for this development: unchecked settlement development and new transport routes destroy precious habitats of many species of flora and fauna. Climate change also endangers many species, as well as too intensive agriculture and forestry. Precious ecosystems such as flower meadows and alpine pastures are also endangered by discontinuation of (often unprofitable) farming and bush encroachment.

In order to stop species loss in our cultural landscape, specific area-related measures are needed. The EU Rural Development Programme is the most important international tool to implement these measures. However this is exactly the area where massive financial restrictions threaten to be applied in many EU member states over the next few years.

"The funding of environmental protection measures through the rural development programme enables farmers to take environmental protection into consideration when working ecologically precious areas, such as flower meadows and alpine pastures. If cuts are made in this area, many farmers will have to choose between intensification or discontinuation of farming. It's especially barely workable land such as mountain meadows and alpine pastures that would not bring profit. If farmers stop to work these lands altogether, diverse habitats will be lost and with them, our cultural landscape which is an important base for tourism" says Andrea Lichtenecker, warning against austerity measures in environmental protection.

Further information:
EU Rural Development Programme
http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/rural-development-2014-2020/index_de.htm

"Rettet die Blumenwiesen", an initiative of Austrian environmental organisations ("Save the flower meadows")
http://www.rettet-die-blumenwiesen.at (German only)

Information
Andrea Lichtenecker
Naturefriends International
Diefenbachgasse 36, 1150 Vienna
Tel.: +43 1 892 38 77-17

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  Press contacts
Anita Pinter
NFI - Naturefriends International

A-1150 Vienna, Diefenbachgasse 36 / Top 9
T: +43-1-8923877-24 | F: +43-1-8129789
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