Agriculture contributes substantially to the conservation and promotion of biodiversity. Agricultural subsidies are an efficient tool to influence agricultural practices with the aim to improve biodiversity. The current agri-environmental schemes have only resulted in small effects on farmland biodiversity. Successful implementation of adaptive measures often fails because farmers are overwhelmed by the ecological complexity and administrative burdens. Furthermore, ecological compensation payments (state subsidies) do not seem to be attractive enough to be competitive with intensive farming. This project aims at developing management options for a “wildlife-friendly” agriculture and at validating the effect of the suggested options on biodiversity at farm scale. Furthermore, an intensification of the advisory support should help farmers improve their impact on biodiversity.
A credit point system will first be developed to assess farmers’ contribution to biodiversity. We will evaluate how well the credit point scores correlate with the measured farm-wide biodiversity on 133 farms of the Swiss lowland plateau. Further we will test the effect of a novel counselling approach where advisors provide whole-farm solutions to optimize ecological and economical aspects for individual farms. We will verify the success of the approach by tracking the development of biodiversity on 48 farms at the beginning of the project (2009), three years after (2012) and six years after (2015). A set of target species representative of ecological compensation areas will be used to this purpose. The economic feasibility and the factors promoting farmer acceptance will be investigated within a socioeconomic analysis. Specifically, participating farmers will be interviewed at the beginning of the project and again after six years, and asked about motivating factors and barriers to implementing ecological compensation areas on their farms. In this way, we will be able to develop strategies to motivate farmers to implement the identified management options. Public relations and continuing education will increase public awareness for biodiversity indicators.
Co-Leitung mit Vogelwarte Sempach