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Climate Crisis & Agriculture

Wildflower Meadows and Flower Strips ('High Nature Value Grassland')

are, next to the oceans, the largest carbon reservoirs on our planet

"The climate crisis and the biodiversity crisis are inextricably linked. They are just two symptoms of the overexploitation of our planet's resources.The climate crisis has reached the public consciousness, the biodiversity crisis has not yet."
(Franz Essl, ecologist at the University of Vienna and spokesman for the Austrian Biodiversity Council)

Intensive agriculture has a significant impact on the climate crisis. In order to achieve the highest possible yields, farms rely on large monocultures. The associated use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and state-of-the-art machinery contributes to high emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. These practices contribute significantly to the degradation of natural capital.

The production and use of fertilizers and pesticides, deforestation to gain agricultural land and factory farming also lead to the release of greenhouse gases.


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European agricultural policy plays a key role in combating the climate crisis, as it regulates the production and marketing of agricultural products.


Unfortunately, in the past, incentives were mostly created in the EU for intensive, yield-oriented rather than for sustainable agriculture. The subsidies are usually linked to production quantities and the subsidies for climate-friendly and biodiversity-oriented agriculture are neglected.

Agri-environmental measures such as preserving wildflower meadows, planting flower strips or creating habitats for wildlife were given too little importance.


All in all, a rethinking of agriculture and agricultural policy towards the creation of natural capital must therefore take place in order to combat the climate crisis and protect biodiversity.

In order to prevent a further escalation of the climate crisis, it is necessaryspecies-rich ecosystems with high soil carbon content, so-called Kocarbon sinks,toprotectionand expand in area.

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HNV ('High Nature Value') grassland, i.e. wildflowers and natural meadows, store more carbon in their soil than all the forests in the world put together. After the oceans, they are the largest carbon sinks on earth. Despite this central importance for climate regulation, there are hardly any protective measures for these ecosystems. On the contrary, around 24 billion tons of soil are lost every year due to the uprooting of the soil and the conversion to intensively cultivated agar areas.(Soil Atlas 2015, Heinrich Böll Foundation)


derightUpgrading from HNV wildflower meadows to agricultural monocultures continues to release enormous amounts of soil carbon unless appropriate countermeasures are taken.

This escapes into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, which in turn drives the climate crisis.

For this reason, PRO-NATUR's climate protection and biodiversity projects follow the principle of conservation agriculture, an agricultural system that provides for

  • minimal soil disturbance (no tillage),

  • the maintenance of permanent land cover and

  • the biological diversity of plant species


PRO-NATUR wildflower meadows and flower strips stand for carbon sinks and biodiversity

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