The increase of the share of ecological compensation areas from 5 % to 7% of the agricultural area in 1998 had different effects in the Rafzerfeld and at Ruswil/Buttisholz. While in the Rafzerfeld the area of the extensively managed meadows increased by 30 % it doubled at Ruswil/Buttisholz and the area of the few intensively managed meadows trippled. The mean size of a meadow declared as an ecological compensation area is a half or a sixth of a mean agricultural plot. But the largest of them have the size of a mean agricultural plot in the same region. In all the three regions of the study there is a tendency to place ecological compensation areas close to an existing ecological compensation area. In Combromont/Nuvilly and in Ruswil/Buttisholz it is a tendency to place ecological compensation areas near the forest.
Those wishing to promote biodiversity in agriculture by means of result-based schemes need meaningful indicators. An overview of proposed and used indicators highlights developments and challenges.
Foods of animal origin – friend or foe? It all depends on the needs of consumers and on local production conditions, as shown by a major review in which Agroscope took part.
In vegetable production it is usual to leave crop residues on the field. Measurements carried out by Agroscope researchers show that removing these residues significantly reduces nitrate leaching.