With the publication of the „environmental objectives in the agricultural sector “(EOAS), mandatory target values for biodiversity on agricultural land have been set for the first time. We present a novel index which indicates population trends of the designated EOAS breeding birds and hence represents one part of the EOAS target attainments. The situation for farmland birds is still critical. The index for birds listed as “EOAS character species” shows no long-term trend, but the one for the “EOAS target species” has clearly declined from 1990-2009, whereas no trend is apparent for 1999-2009. Among the species with positive population trends are generally widely distributed and opportunistic species as well as species which benefit from recent climate changes or from recovery programmes. We conclude that tools and measures within the development of the Swiss direct payments system have to be better targeted and improved to achieve the EOAS attainments.
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.