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Biodiversity and the landscape ecology of agri-environment schemes

  • Henrik Smith
  • Erik Öckinger
  • Maj Rundlöf
Publishing year: 2010
Language: English
Pages: 225-232
Publication/Series: Aspects of Applied Biology
Volume: 100
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Association of Applied Biologists

Abstract english

Loss of biodiversity in European farmland has been attributed to agricultural intensification and the resulting loss of ecological heterogeneity. To alleviate the effect of agricultural intensification, farmers are compensated via agri-environment schemes for carrying out farming in ways to preserve and restore biodiversity. However, the effectiveness of these schemes has been questioned and evaluations of their effect have produced partly contrasting results. One aspect that has received little attention is how the spatial context and configuration of agri-environment measures affect the results. We have evaluated the consequences of the spatial context of organic farming and other agri-environment measures on the abundance and diversity of flower-visiting insects and birds. We demonstrate that the effect of agri-environment schemes on insect and bird diversity depends on both landscape complexity and the proportion of the landscape that is under agri-environment schemes. We discuss implications this have for the formulation of efficient agri-environment schemes.


  • Ecology
  • organic farming
  • Agri-environment schemes
  • biodiversity
  • semi-natural pastures


  • ISSN: 0265-1491