Wooded pastures of the Jura mountains are mainly used for fodder and timber production, but they provide also other goods and services such as biodiversity, leisure areas as well as attractive landscapes. These ecosystems are sensitive to climate and land-use changes. In this paper we report on a transplantation experiment and model simulations to show the impact of climate change on the grass production as well as the consequences of the upcoming new agriculture policy (AP 14–17) on landscape dynamics. Results indicate that wooded pastures could better resist to climate warming and concomitant summer droughts than open pastures, and thus provide more stable fodder yields along the season. Simulations of vegetation evolution indicate that the global utilization rate of fodder in treeless intensive used pastures would be beyond a sustainable threshold. The AP 14–17 will lower the intensity of pasturing which will lead to more closed landscapes in the long run. The new policy should allow, by means of incentives in favour of landscape quality, to take targeted measures for the conservation of wooded pastures.
To balance their nutrient cycles, Swiss farms export surplus farmyard manure to farms with free uptake capacities or to composting and anaerobic digestion facilities. Between 2015 and 2020 the volumes of organic manure and recycled fertilisers transported rose significantly, with a consequent increase in transport costs.
Employment in the agricultural sector is declining in many European countries, especially in livestock farming. Direct payments can counter this trend and lead to the employment of more – especially female – family members on the farm.
Despite the current challenges of e.g. the war in Ukraine and climate change, the Swiss food sector is relatively resilient. This is the conclusion reached by Agroscope’s report on behalf of the Swiss Federal Office for National Economic Supply.