Media portrayal of beaver (Castor fiber) related conflicts as an indicator of changes in EU-policies relevant to freshwater conservation
- Changes in European Union's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) led to re-intensification of formerly extensified agricultural areas.
- We used media reporting on human–beaver conflicts as an indicator for a re-increased agricultural use of areas adjacent to waterways throughout Germany.
- Our results cause concern that alterations in CAP can considerably affect riparian habitats and may have destructive impacts on the conservation of freshwater ecosystems.
In many European countries, the condition of the majority of waters still does not meet advanced ecological standards. In this context, conservation of riparian habitats is of particular importance. A recently increasing demand for cultivable land led to changes in the EU's subsidy policies. We argue that these changes to land use policies can affect aquatic–terrestrial intersections. We used media reporting on beaver-related aspects as a parameter for conflict potentials within riparian habitats. We detected a considerable increase in conflicts occurring concurrently with the re-intensification of agricultural land use. Our results provide cause for concern that recent tendencies in land use in the EU might have destructive impacts on freshwater ecosystems.
- Beaver recovery;
- EU agriculture policy;
- News media;
- Riparian habitat
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