Ecological Quality of Meadows Supported with Biodiversity Contributions

The «Agriculture-Related Environmental Objectives» (AEOs) set binding targets for the conservation of species and habitat diversity in the agricultural landscape. For these, lists of species meriting particular consideration (AEO species) were drawn up. An initial evaluation of the ALL-EMA «Agricultural Species and Habitats» Monitoring Programme shows that in Switzerland, on average only 13 % of the low-input meadows categorised as biodiversity priority areas (BPAs) are actually nutrient-poor species-rich meadows, and only 31 % of the fairly-low-input BPA meadows are species-rich hay meadows. The objective of promoting the nutrient- poor grassland with the BPA type «low-input meadow» and the species-rich hay meadows with «fairly-low-input meadow» has thus only been achieved to a very limited extent. In the plain zone these percentages are in fact much lower than in the mountain zones, where they range up to 50 %. A positive development is that the percentage of low-input meadows with high ecological quality in the plain and hill zone has increased by around a third since the last evaluation 15 years ago. In order to improve goal achievement, greater account should be taken of the site and the original vegetation when registering a BPA meadow. In particular, this requires more on-site advice.

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