Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

EU Nature Restoration Law faces backlash from Farmers


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Nature Restoration Law

Mains level: Not Much

eu nature restoration

Central Idea

  • The EU Parliament’s approval of a nature restoration law has sparked backlash and debate over plans to protect endangered ecosystems.
  • The law is a crucial part of the European Green Deal and aims to address the extinction of species and restore damaged habitats.

Nature Restoration Law: Why in news?

  • Objectives: The law aims to restore 30% of terrestrial, coastal, freshwater, and marine habitats by 2030, which are currently in poor condition.
  • Resistance: Farmers and conservative lawmakers strongly oppose the legislation, particularly concerning plans to restore drained peatlands. They argue that valuable agricultural land may be lost, leading to economic and social consequences and potential food security risks.

Importance of Peatlands and Environmental Impact

  • Peatland Carbon Storage: Peatlands, wetland ecosystems formed over thousands of years, store more carbon than any other ecosystem. They absorb nearly twice as much carbon dioxide as all of the Earth’s forests combined.
  • Drained Peatlands: When peatlands are drained for agriculture or other purposes, they transition from being carbon sinks to significant greenhouse gas sources, contributing to emissions.
  • European Peatlands: More than half of Europe’s peatlands have been permanently damaged, leading to approximately 7% of the continent’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Calls for Rewetting and Paradigm Shift

  • Rewetting Peatlands: The proposed legislation includes plans to rewet 50% of former peatlands in Europe, aiming to restore their environmental functions and mitigate climate change.
  • Paradigm Shift in Agriculture: Experts advocate for a paradigm shift in agriculture, moving away from farming on drained peatlands and investing in paludiculture (farming on wetlands), which is agriculture on rewetted peat soil. This approach would stop carbon emissions while improving soil and water quality.

Political Challenges and Compromises

  • Opposition by Conservative Groups: Conservative groups, including the European People’s Party, seek to reduce the scope of wetland restoration plans and oppose the conversion of agricultural land.
  • Concerns and Dissemination of Misinformation: Critics claim that villages could be cleared for wetland restoration, leading to economic and social fallout. However, these claims have been labeled as misinformation and populist.

Economic and Environmental Benefits

  • Long-Term Economic Return: The European Commission estimates that every euro invested in restoring natural resources would yield at least eight times the economic return over the long term.
  • Sustainable Land Use: While rewetted land may not support traditional monocultures, it could enable the growth of other crops, such as timber, grasses, and reeds for insulation materials and organic plastic substitutes. Revitalized areas could also become grazing grounds for alternative livestock.


  • The approval of the EU nature restoration law has sparked a debate between environmental conservation and agricultural interests.
  • While farmers express concerns over the potential loss of agricultural land and economic impact, environmentalists argue for the restoration of threatened ecosystems and the long-term benefits of sustainable land use.
  • The implementation of the law will play a crucial role in achieving the ambitious climate and biodiversity targets set by the European Green Deal.


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