Eln fab european learning network on functional agrobiodiversity
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ELN-FAB European Learning Network on Functional AgroBiodiversity. for a more sustainable agriculture and countryside in Europe. Problem definition. Small scale, fragmented application of FAB Important contribution to sustainable agriculture Need for upscaling experiences and practice.

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ELN-FAB European Learning Network on Functional AgroBiodiversity

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ELN-FABEuropean Learning Network on Functional AgroBiodiversity

for a more sustainable agriculture and countryside in Europe

Problem definition

  • Small scale, fragmented application of FAB

  • Important contribution to sustainable agriculture

  • Need for upscaling experiences and practice

Background of the ELN-FAB

  • Initiative of the Ministry of VROM, the Netherlands

  • Started January 2009

  • ECNC in cooperation with DIVERSITAS agroBIODIVERSITY International Project Office (AB-IPO)

  • Financially supported by:

    • The European Commission LIFE+ NGO programme;

    • Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, the Netherlands;

    • Flemish Land Agency (VLM), Belgium;

    • Swiss Federal Office for the Environment;

    • Ministry of Agriculture, Estonia;

    • European Environment Agency.

Mission of the ELN-FAB

  • ELN-FAB is set to provide a platform and facility for exchange of knowledge and practical experiences with other EU member states, between farmers, policy makers, scientists, businesses and NGOs, in order to

  • Enable fast and effective implementation of best practices;

  • Help to optimize agrobiodiversity benefits;

  • Promote sustainable agriculture.

The concept of FAB

  • ‘those elements of biodiversity on the scale of agricultural fields or landscapes, which provide ecosystem services that support sustainable agricultural production and can also deliver benefits to the regional and global environment and the public at large’ (ELN-FAB, 2009; www.eln-fab.eu)

The concept of FAB

Multiple ecosystem services

Multiple ecosystem services

Large scale biodiversity project in the Hoekse Waard. Addition of annual and perennial field margins to existing landscape features (polders, dikes, creeks, canal borders).

FAB in practice


  • Increase awareness among policy makers and end-users about FAB and its benefits

  • Have the FAB concept incorporated in policies (CAP, Directives, NAP’s)

  • Develop effective FAB prescriptions tailored to specific crops, climatic zones, soil types…


  • 27 member countries of the EU + Switzerland and Norway

  • The primary stakeholders are:

  • the land managers;

  • the research community;

  • the policymakers.

Implementation structure

Activities (1)

To make sure that the information reaches the different target groups:

  • Steering group of the network has been set up;

  • Project communication material has been developed: logo and brochure;

  • Stakeholder groups were contacted on European and national levels and other possible intermediaries who could actively participate in the project;

Activities (2)

  • All the ministers responsible for environment and agriculture in the EU 27 and Norway have been informed about the project together with European Commission Directorates-General;

  • Connection and cooperation with other relevant networks and companies has been explored;

  • A brochure about the concept of FAB has been prepared;

  • The official website of the project has been developed (www.eln-fab.eu);

  • Register of agrobiodiversity projects throughout Europe has been prepared;

Activities (3)

  • Organizing European seminars and regional awareness raising workshops;

  • Disseminating information on thenetwork via various high-level events and forums;

  • Preparing a FAB guidance document that describes the FAB policy and practices and that provides practical examples for a number of selected FAB measures.

Plans on longer term

  • Defining the future priorities in the light of policy;

  • Organizing an European seminar, focusing on the ecosystem services provided by FAB in relation to sustainable agriculture and water conservation;

  • Broadening the geographical scope of the project in order to develop a Pan-European network;

  • Developing joint project (research) proposals for submission to European funds (LIFE+, FP7, etc.)

Involvement in other networks

  • Stakeholder forum of the EcoFINDERS project (Ecological Function and Biodiversity Indicators in European Soils)

  • SUSTAIN project partner (Soil Functional Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, a Transdisciplinary Approach)

  • Stakeholder Advisory Board of the QUESSA project (Quantification of ecological services for sustainable agriculture)

  • BiodiversityKnowledge project

Thank you for your attention!

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