Every second 26 M2 of agricultural land disappears in France

The disappearance of agricultural land

How much cultivable agricultural land is disappearing in France?

82,000 hectares

of agricultural land is lost each year in France. > 82,000 hectares of agricultural land disappeared on average each year between 2006 and 2010

Did you know ?

To produce a layer of 18 centimeters of topsoil, nature needs 1,400 to 7,000 years, at a rate of 0.5 to 2 centimeters per century.

26 m2

Every second, 26m² of agricultural land disappears in France


The artificialization of soils in France

4,900,000 ha

Artificialized areas occupied 4.9 million hectares in 2010, or nearly 9% of the metropolis. Half corresponds to coated or stabilized soils (roads, car parks), the waterproofing of which notably has negative impacts on the water cycle. Artificial areas expanded by around 260,000 hectares between 2006 and 2009, largely at the expense of agricultural land, but also semi-natural environments.

Artificial areas expanded by around 260,000 hectares between 2006 and 2009, largely at the expense of agricultural land, but also semi-natural environments.

78,000 ha

In France, this worrying artificialization caused the disappearance, on average, of 78,000 ha1 of agricultural land per year, between 2006 and 2010.

This is equivalent to the average surface area of ​​an entire department every 7 years, a football stadium every 5 minutes, or a 25 m2 vegetable garden every second. This incredible waste is all the more worrying as it has only accelerated in recent decades (54,000 hectares per year between 1982 and 1992, 61,000 hectares per year between 1993 and 2003 (2) even if this pace has temporarily slowed since 2009, under the effect of the economic crisis.

“The main cause is urbanization, from industrial zones to shopping centers, from homes to parking lots. 40,000 hectares were urbanized per year in the 1960s, 78,000 hectares are currently. The need to build roads and housing is not the only cause. The search for economic profitability – all the more pressing as farmers generate low income on average – has also led to the abandonment of insufficiently productive or profitable plots, in favor of the forest in particular.

Bankruptcies, retirements, difficulties in finding a successor are all opportunities which lead operators to take advantage of the financial windfall that the sale of land can represent.


“Agricultural land is disappearing. Today, the urgency is to ensure that land continues to be cultivated to feed women and men. »

“In the North, it is the artificialization that worries us: large useless projects and urban sprawl lead to ever more concreting of land, an irreversible process. In Europe it is the equivalent of a French department which disappears every year. Although guidelines have been established by the Commission to combat the phenomenon, there are no concrete tools.”

“In the South, it is land grabbing that is worrying: multinationals are pre-empting more and more land, causing the displacement of populations and endangering their food sovereignty. Once again, Europe is no stranger to this: it favors this practice via its 2003 directive promoting agrofuels or its 2008 strategy orchestrating the race for the latest raw materials, particularly in Latin America.

The best lost soils

Another observation is that not only is France losing land, but artificialization is mainly taking place on the best soils, with strong pressure along the coast, around large cities and communication routes.

“Man historically settled on fertile land and current towns grew around these first settlements,” recalls Robert Levesque, director of Terres d’Europe-Scafr, the study center of the Safer federation ( land development and rural settlement companies).

“In addition to an impact on biodiversity, the disappearance of land means the disappearance of support for food production,” warns Carole Robert, of the Chambers of Agriculture. Consumers demand local products, from sustainable agriculture, quality products. French agriculture is able to respond to this, but the soil still needs to be conserved. »

The disappearance of land also questions French and European food independence. “Europe imports from third countries the equivalent of the production of 35 million hectares,” explains Robert Levesque. In 1999-2000, this figure was 26 million. »


source: www.latribune.fr


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