HNV farming is characterised by long-established, low-intensity and often complex farming systems using labour intensive practices, livestock breeds and crop types highly adapted to local soils, vegetation and climate. HNV farms vary in size, structure and land tenure, often using common pastures.
A Cheese Farm High in the Mountains
HNV livestock and mixed farming systems occur throughout the EU, providing the grazing livestock that maintain a wide variety of important habitats.
A chance meeting with Ana
We were in Maramures to create a story about High Nature Value Farming and went in search of a viewpoint from which to photograph the haystacks of Breb.
One of the locals had pointed out the mountain path, saying that if we followed it we’d have a wonderful view out over the fields with the haystacks.
What we happened upon was not just a breathtaking view but a meeting with Ana Toporan, who lives there in summer along with her husband and their 500 sheep and their dogs. They tend the sheep and make cheese.
For me as a photographer a chance meeting like that is of course a gift. It produced a beautiful story about a simple farming family, and it was a wonderful example of the value and importance of High Nature Value landscapes.
With their grazing herds the farmers maintain these special landscapes, which with their immense biodiversity are of great ecological value. In many European countries landscapes like this have disappeared for ever, and where they do survive they are often economically fragile. Structural changes put them at great risk of damage or complete destruction.
Source: European Commission ec.europa.eu
Landscapes where most of the farms are managed under a low-intensity HNV farming system are the most valuable for biodiversity, but no longer exist in some Member States.
Where these do survive they are often economically vulnerable and at high risk of abandonment or damaging structural change.
HNV farming systems are the most valuable for biodiversity.
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