A Dutch study, prepared by scientists from Wageningen Agricultural University, says that EU green farming projects have largely failed. The study, published in the Nature magazine, found out that EU agri-environment projects in the Netherlands had little beneficial effect on preserving biodiversity and protecting bird wildlife.
Dutch scientists have found out that fields participating in EU agri-environment schemes are no richer in plant and animal species than conventionally managed farmland. The study suggests improvements in the monitoring of such schemes to ensure that their annual EU subsidy of 1.7 billion euro per year is well spent.
Dutch farmers have been paid since 1981 to delay mowing or grazing and reduce fertilizer inputs to their fields. The scheme is intended to give meadow birds time to nest and hatch their chicks, and to encourage wild plants in field edges. The EU has introduced a similar scheme in 1992.
However, the scheme seems to have failed as there is a lack of food for birds in less fertilized fields, and the general shortage of plant species available to colonize field edges.
The agri-environment scheme is different from organic farming that does not use chemicals at all and has very stringent rules, for example requiring the planting of trees and shrubs. Studies by the Washington State University show that organic farming is a better alternative because removing all chemicals from farming enhances biodiversity.