European Network on Farmland Heterogeneity, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services – FarmLand
European Network on Farmland Heterogeneity, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
FarmLand is a research project bringing together teams from France, Germany, Great Britain, Spain and Canada to test the role of landscape heterogeneity for biodiversity and ecosystem services in agricultural systems.
Research context and objectives
Agricultural landscapes occupy 40% of the available land area in Europe. They play an important role in providing habitat for wild plants and animals that contribute significantly to agricultural production through services such as crop pollination and control of crop pests. In many regions farm fields are becoming ever larger, and many agricultural regions are now dedicated to a small number of crop types. What is the relationship between farming systems, farmers' perception and agricultural landscapes? How did these changes in farmland pattern affect farmland wildlife and the services they provide for agriculture?<br /><br />Agricultural landscapes which contain significant areas of semi-natural lands have higher wildlife diversity and better ecosystem services. However, policies encouraging semi-natural field margins or semi-natural strips within crop fields require taking crop area out of production, which is often not feasible. It has been suggested that, in addition to the area of semi-natural habitats, the spatial heterogeneity of the cropped lands may be positively related to wild plant and animal diversity and to their provision of ecosystem services. Is it possible to build collectively acceptable guidelines that will create spatial patterns of farmland that promote biodiversity-based ecosystem services without taking land out of production?<br /><br />The aim of FarmLand is to investigate whether modifying crop heterogeneity (both crop compositional and configurational heterogeneity) is possible and whether this would benefit biodiversity and ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes.
FarmLand is asking the following questions:
1. What is the relationship between farming systems and crop heterogeneity?
2. What is the relationship between farmers perceptions and farming systems?
3. How do farmers perceive crop heterogeneity, biodiversity and ecosystem services?
4. Does crop heterogeneity influence biodiversity?
5. Does crop heterogeneity influence regulating (pollination, biological control), supporting and cultural ecosystem services?
6. What measures of farmland biodiversity are most strongly related to provision of ecosystem services?
7. How can we collectively build acceptable guidelines that will create spatial patterns of farmland that promote biodiversity-based ecosystem services?
To answer these questions, FarmLand is using a multidisciplinary, multiregional and multi-taxa approach:
- Farming systems, farmers' perception, biodiversity and ecosystem services are being studied along each gradient of crop heterogeneity
- The same protocols are being applied in 8 agricultural regions in Germany, France, Spain, U.K. and Canada
- Biodiversity surveys are being conducted on birds, plants, butterflies, bees, syrphids, carabids and spiders
- Experiments are being conducted to assess pollination and predation services.
Results are not available yet.
The results of our research will be produced at a very critical moment when ecosystem services and their associated biodiversity have become (by conviction or necessity) central concerns for land users, policy makers and the public. They will point to a «low cost-high benefit practice« to enhance biodiversity and associated services in agriculture.
The results will be pertinent at three governance levels: the local / regional, the National and the European. At each level we will favor a collaborative process involving both researchers and stakeholders in the production of deliverables, transfer of results and outreach.
Scientific outputs are in progress.
Agricultural landscapes occupy 40% of the available land area, and as such play an important role in conserving biodiversity. Farmland biodiversity makes an important contribution to agricultural production by providing ecosystem services such as crop pollination and biological control of crop pests. In many regions farm fields are becoming ever larger, and many agricultural regions are now dedicated to the production of a small number of crop types. What are the effects of these changes in farmland pattern on farmland biodiversity and the ecosystem services important for agricultural production? Are there policies which, if followed, would improve biodiversity and ecosystem services in farmlands without compromising agricultural production? FARMLAND is an international research program aimed at addressing these questions.
Previous work has demonstrated that agricultural landscapes which contain significant areas of semi-natural lands have higher biodiversity and better ecosystem services than farmlands with less semi-natural lands. These results have led to policies where farmers are paid to leave semi-natural field margins or insert semi-natural strips into crop fields. Such policies require taking crop area out of production. There are many situations where this may not be feasible. It has been suggested that, in addition to the area of semi-natural habitats, the spatial heterogeneity of the cropped lands may be positively related to biodiversity and provision of ecosystem services. If this is true, then it may be possible to develop new policies for agriculture that could restore biodiversity and associated ecosystem services by increasing farmland heterogeneity, without reducing cropped area. The aim of FARMLAND is to test this idea and to help develop such policies.
Monsieur Jean-Louis MARTIN (CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE - DELEGATION REGIONALE LANGUEDOC-ROUSSILLON) – firstname.lastname@example.org
The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.
CNRS CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE - DELEGATION REGIONALE LANGUEDOC-ROUSSILLON
CNRS/CEBC CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE - DELEGATION REGIONALE CENTRE POITOU-CHARENTES
CNRS and Université de Rennes CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE - DELEGATION REGIONALE BRETAGNE ET PAYS- DE-LA-LOIRE
Fondation Tour du Valat FONDATION TOUR DU VALAT
INRA - DYNAFOR INSTITUT NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE AGRONOMIQUE -CENTRE DE RECHERCHE DE TOULOUSE
Help of the ANR 958,630 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: March 2012 - 36 Months