FarmLand: International Network on Farmed Landscapes Heterogeneity, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services

A new project collaborated by BAC lab has been one of the selected by the BiodivERsA European Joint Call 2011.

The project FARMLAND, European Network on Farmland heterogeneity, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services is coordinated by Jean-Louis MARTIN (CNRS) and involves partners from Germany, France, Spain, the UK and Canada. In the CTFC, the ECO-LAND lab is the main partner and the BAC lab has a minor role with the contributions of Gerard Bota and David Giralt.

FARMLAND is an international research program aimed at addressing  questions regarding the role of spatial heterogeneity on biodiversity and ecosystem services.

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?

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.

For more information:

- FarmLand’s website

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