In the regions where agriculture covers most of the landscape, species rich field margins have an important role in the preservation of biodiversity, plants and fauna. Considering this, the Swiss Confederation plans to introduce «field margins» as new type of ecological compensation area. It is a perennial and linear structure sown with a mixture of native forbs and grasses. It is 3 to 12 meters wide and is made to endure throughout the years without reseeding. To determine the effect of this new structure on vole and mole populations, we studied 36 agricultural fields with either an improved field margin or a conventional field margin or a wildflower strip on the edge. The results show that these three types of field edges are appreciated by voles, but the activity of those rodents inside the field stay low, whatever the edge type. Not a single mole has been observed during this study.
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.