In the framework of the evaluation of ecological measures promoted by the Swiss Government, a botanical survey was undertaken in three regions in 1997 or 1998. Plant species per 100 m2 were investigated in 88 meadows under different cultivation regimes (from extensively to intensively cultivated).<br>With mean of 15 to 27 spexies per region and type of meadow diversity was generally low. Meadows registered as ecological compensation areas showed a trend to a higher number of species. The influence of the region, however, was greater than that of the cultivation regime. In regard to biodiversity, a large number of meadows registered as ecological compensation areas could not be distinguished from more intensively cultivated ones.
Symbiotic nitrogen fixation by bacteria in the soil coexisting with legumes leads to reduced fertiliser requirement. It is not easy to measure this variable on farms, however. Now researchers from Agroscope have developed a method for estimating nitrogen input via symbiotic fixation at farm level.
With increasing global and regional temperatures, even in Switzerland the growing season has lengthened considerably. Using data from the Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology, Agroscope has traced the development of the growing season since the start of the previous century.
The phosphate mineral reserves required for fertiliser production could be exhausted on a global scale in just a few decades. This study presents a method for recycling a Swiss industrial by-product into a phosphate fertiliser.