Improving legislation to conserve and restore natural ecosystems on farmland
Vitaly G. Levakhin (Ministry of Agriculture of Orenburg Province, Orenburg)
Unlike the legally-recognised importance of forest and aquatic biodiversity, the very fact that biodiversity exists on farmland remains largely unknown in Russia.
Analysis of federal and regional legislation indicates a number of gaps that impede the development of ecologically-sustainable agro-landscapes and prevent the conservation of biodiversity on farmland.
The following four most important issues are being addressed in detail:
1) Existing legislation does not allow a farmland user to change the type of land use from one category to another.
2) There are legal norms restricting owners of farmland from leaving the land idle (ie. unused for the designated purpose) for a period of over three years.
3) Agricultural legislation does not in any way mention the maintenance of the ecological integrity of rural areas and even less so of natural ecosystems sustaining the quality of life in rural areas and contributing to agricultural production.
4) The majority of forest fires in Orenburg Province during 2010 started from within farmland. Legislation, however, does not call people to account for burning poplar fluff or dry grass or making bonfires without the necessary safety measures being taken.
For each of the four major issues a specific solution is proposed, such as the introduction of necessary additions to or amendments of existing legislation, or the formulation of new legal acts.
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