Nature Outlook 2010-2040

Agriculture under the four nature perspectives

Creating added value with respect to both products and the landscape has become an increasingly important strategy in agriculture. The Dutch centre for agriculture and the Environment (CLM) put the trends in agriculture in the context of the nature perspectives of the Nature Outlook 2010–2040.

Agriculture is reaching the limits of the development model of the past century. Effects of scaling up and intensification on the natural surroundings and vulnerability of the commercial operations have become so great that new avenues must be sought. In each of the four nature perspectives in the Nature Outlook this takes place in a different way.

Dairy farms move away from nature

Under the nature perspective of Vital Nature, nature is organised in large areas. The influence of agriculture on the quality of the natural surroundings therefore becomes relatively limited. The strict environmental requirements have resulted in a downward pressure on dairy farms in nature areas, and particularly in Natura 2000 areas. On its boundary with nature areas, agriculture takes specific measures to improve the quality of the environment for nature.

Multifunctional agriculture takes advantage of local opportunities

Under the nature perspective of Experiential Nature, the historical landscape is conserved, restored and developed by enterprising farmers. A growing group of multifunctional farmers are actively responding to the demand for nature that can be experienced. Among other things, they invest in landscape and spatial quality, put cows out to pasture, organise public access together with neighbours and welcome schools onto their farms. A regional fund is utilised to support investments in nature, landscape and recreation.

Organising nature around long-term interests

Under the nature perspective of Functional Nature, the vulnerability of agricultural monocultures will challenge agribusinesses to look at agricultural ecosystems differently. The presence of useful biodiversity will come to be seen as an investment in a sustainable future. The farmer is once again seen as a partner in water management. Agricultural businesses collaborate, with each other and with the business sector, societal organisations and government authorities that value and use the services they provide. The farms themselves shape the landscape and combine with other functions on a relevant scale and level.

Agriculture structures itself and the landscape

Under the nature perspective of Tailored Nature, agricultural businesses focus on increasing production. Parcellation of land will be greatly improved with plots having a minimum size of 10 hectares, removal or shifting of ditches and hedgerows, and widening of roads. A new landscape ‘shell’ – its basic structure – is created.

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The Nature Outlook is a statutory product of the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency with cooperation from Wageningen UR.