Agroscope, Institute for Plant Production Sciences IPS, 1260 Nyon, Switzerland

Ecology at Swiss vegetables farms

The ecological compensatory areas were investigated at 14 Swiss farms with field grown vegetables in the frame work of the EU-project VEGINECO. From 1997 to 2000 the percentage of these areas were ca. 17% at organic farms and ca. 7% at integrated farms. According to the opinion of organic farmers the main advantage of ecological compensation is the increase of biodiversity, the main disadvantage is the increase of pests. However, according to integrated farmers the most important advantage is the protection against soil erosion and the most important disadvantages are the loss of production area and the limitation of free management. There were only small differences between the organic and integrated farms concerning the types of ecological compensation. The main type was the extensive meadow. Most of these meadows had a high quality. The evaluation method for ecological infrastructure, developed during the project, showed good results for two selected pilot farms. However, the applicability of this method in Switzerland is limited.

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