Research Institute for Organic Agriculture, Frick

Whole-farm advisory increases quality and quantity of ecological compensation areas

The areas of ecological compensation (AEC) required for farms receiving subventions have so far delivered modest results against the loss of biodiversity in cultivated landscape of Switzerland. Insufficient ecological quality and inadequate locations of these areas are to blame. The results of our study show that whole-farmadvisory can efficiently improve the situation even on intensive farms of the Swiss plateau. All participating farms were willing to sign contracts that will increase the mean AEC from 8,9 to 13,5 % of their agricultural area in use (AAU). Crucially, the quality of the AEC according to the ordinance on ecological quality increases from 3,3 to 8,5 % of the AAU. This substantial improvement of the ecological performances can be reached without negative impacts on production or farming income. On the contrary, the gains and profit contributions increase by CHF 3500.– and CHF 3491.– per farm, respectively.

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