Intensive agriculture is one of the main drivers of biodiversity decline. Because the world population will continue to increase, we need fundamental changes in the agricultural system to maintain food production and increase biodiversity levels in agricultural landscapes. While we have a good idea of what works for biodiversity conservation, implementation of biodiversity conservation interventions in agriculture is lacking behind, possibly because the benefits for farmers are unclear.
Land-use in intensive agricultural landscapes is highly simplified and contain few habitats that are suitable as biodiversity refuges. Most studies studying biodiversity interventions, such as hedgerow planting or wildflower strips, focus on restoring these biodiversity refuges by taking land out of production. As a result, the benefits of these biodiversity interventions for farmers need to be larger than the costs of a lower cover of productive land. Such benefits could be achieved with higher productivity due to enhanced ecosystem service delivery, but also with a higher revenue (e.g. due to organic farming, local/nature-produce produce premium), or intrinsic values (‘because I find it important’). Furthermore, because space in agricultural landscapes is limited, increasing focus is being put on how the habitat quality of the unproductive land can be improved. For example, road verges can harbour relatively high biodiversity levels, but only if the management is aimed at biodiversity management, rather than on reducing costs of management. Furthermore, changing agricultural practices, such as crop diversification and strip-cropping, are also promising innovative solutions that aim to maintain food production while increasing biodiversity levels. However, we have little insight in which measures work when and where, and what the benefits for farmers and biodiversity are. In this symposium we will collate some examples of biodiversity interventions in agricultural landscapes that aim to build a synergy between sustainable food production and biodiversity conservation.
Biodiversity conservation intervention: lessons from 10 years of field experiments in Western France
- Vincent Bretagnolle’s (CNRS, France)
Mass-flowering crops as a pollinator biodiversity enhancing intervention
- Thijs Fijen (Wageningen University & Research, Netherlands)
Landscape-scale agri-environment schemes in social-ecological systems for promoting pollinators
- Annika Hass (University of Goettingen, Germany)
The value of biodiversity interventions in agricultural landscapes
- David Kleijn (Wageningen University & Research, Netherlands)
Sown set-aside fields promote biodiversity at local and landscape scales in Hungary
- Anikó Kovács-Hostyánszki (Centre for Ecological Research, Hungary)
Species-habitat networks: A promising tool in applied landscape ecology
- Lorenzo Marini (University of Padova, DAFNAE, Italy)
Diversified farming at field- and landscape scale for biodiversity and ecosystem services
- Chloé Raderschall (Swedish University of Agricultural Sceinces, Sweden)
Are mass-flowering crops beneficial or detrimental for the conservation of wild pollinators?
- Laura Riggi (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden)