The intensification of agricultural practices has led to an alarming decline in farmland biodiversity. With the aim of stopping and even reversing this trend, biodiversity promotion areas (BPA – formerly named «ecological compensation areas») were introduced in the 1990s. In this study, the influence of BPA on the biodiversity of butterflies and breeding birds was investigated in 46 landscape squares of 1 km2. If the proportion of BPA in the landscape increased from 5 % to 15 %, the butterfly species richness increased by 22 % and that of birds by 10 %. In the case of birds, farmland and AEO (agriculture-related environmental objectives) priority species primarily benefited from BPA with high ecological quality, though these were rare in most landscapes. For both taxonomic groups, the proportion and quality of BPA habitats was more important than their spatial configuration, including the distances between them. Our study at the landscape scale illustrates the important role of biodiversity promotion areas and highlights their positive effect on biodiversity in the intensively farmed Swiss agricultural landscape.
Grass-based beef production is markedly less productive than intensive year-round indoor-housing system-based production. Agroscope experts therefore studied how grass-based farms can produce both economically and in an ecologically sound manner.
Orchard crop spraying using unmanned aerial spraying systems commonly referred to as drones can lead to drift, posing a risk to residents and bystanders. The study shows that the risks arising from this are taken into account by the current registration process.
Trials conducted by FiBL have shown that conversion to organic farming also promotes endangered Red List species such as the carabid beetle species Amara tricuspidata. This species and other species consume seeds of forbs and grasses and thus supports natural weed control.