Agriculture and nature join forces to protect cranes and steppe birds

Farmers in La Mancha steppes have long been calling for compensatory measures to make agricultural activity compatible with biodiversity. During the last two years, El Hito LIFE project has provided financial aid to compensate for the damage to crops caused by cranes and other steppe birds in the cereal fields located within the protected area of the El Hito lagoon. 

The Regional Administration of Castilla-La Mancha has announced this week that the compensatory aid for over-seeding will continue after 2023 through the CAP, reinforcing and expanding the work that Fundación Global Nature has been doing in El Hito and Montalbo with farmers in the area. As Eduardo de Miguel comments, “the announcement of the Counsil of Agriculture of Castilla-La Mancha is great news for the El Hito Lagoon, as it allows the continuity of agri-environmental measures necessary in the short and medium term for the conservation of this area”.

Objective achieved

These compensatory measures arise with the intention of making agricultural activity compatible with the preservation of emblematic natural areas for the protection of migratory and wintering birds such as the lagoon of El Hito. “It is a collective initiative that has been possible thanks to the joint effort of Fundación Global Nature, together with the Government of Castilla-La Mancha and the farmers of the area, thinking about the future of the region. We have an obligation to keep this unique natural area alive. There is a lot at stake,” said the Minister of Agriculture of Castilla-La Mancha, Francisco Martínez Arroyo. 

This CAP measure approved by the Regional Government will benefit 600 farmers among El Hito Lagoon (Cuenca) and the lagoon of La Yunta and Campillo de Dueñas (Guadalajara), with aid of 65 euros per hectare for five years, compatible with other CAP subsidies. The president of the Association of People Affected by the Cranes in the natural environment of the El Hito lagoon, Pepe Honduvilla, expressed his satisfaction that the farmers affected by the impact of the cranes and steppe birds during the cereal sowing periods will continue to be compensated: “it is a way of compensating the farmers for everything they contribute to biodiversity and to the birds protection”.