High nature value farming is a concept that preserves and sustainably exploits the natural values of rural areas to make quality agricultural products accessible to local communities in the future. The word “value” in high nature value farming refers to the value of conserving natural habitats and wild species of plants and animals that live in it, and thus preserving ecosystem services man receives from biodiversity (regulating organisms harmful to farming, pollination and so on).
High nature value farming includes agricultural land and high nature value farming practices. In this concept, agricultural land is defined in relation to the soil of high nature value (for example pastures, orchards, arable land), while farming practices refer to the practices applied on that land (for example grazing, mowing, pruning).
In addition to high yields, such agricultural land provides important habitats for wildlife, while high nature value farming practices are synchronized with wildlife life cycles and have a positive effect on biodiversity conservation. Having in mind that consumers and decision-makers across the European Union are very aware of the importance of nature conservation and animal welfare in the production of healthy and quality food, agricultural products originating from such production systems have added value.
Experts agree that there are large areas of high nature value land in the Western Balkans region, which is why the whole region is considered the “green gold” and the “lungs” of Europe. (European Environment Agency).