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FARMLAND, Farmland heterogeneity, biodiversity and ecosystem services - WC1034

The aim of this project is to examine how farmland heterogeneity – the way that different crops and non-cropped habitat are distributed within the landscape – impacts on biodiversity. Defra has international and domestic commitments to manage and restore biodiversity. Farmland biodiversity also contributes to agricultural production via ecosystem services such as crop pollination and biological control of crop pests, as well as having intrinsic cultural value. Responses to loss of farmland biodiversity typically involve taking land out of production (field margins or hedgerow planting for example). However, with increasing concern regarding food security, and a focus on sustainable intensification of farming, there are limits to how much land can be taken out of production. An alternative approach is to increase biodiversity value and ecosystem service provision on farmland, by increasing the diversity of crop types and management within the farmed landscape without compromising production. The project is co-funded by the Sustainable Agriculture evidence programme and extends a large scale European research project ‘FARMLAND’ into the UK, which will significantly increase the sample size at no cost to Defra and bring in additional expertise and analytical capability.
• To identify how species presence, abundance and distribution in farmland are affected by increasing compositional heterogeneity (diversity) of crop types in the landscape.
• To identify how species presence, abundance and distribution in farmland are affected by increasing configurational heterogeneity (structure) in the landscape.
• To quantify the extent to which biodiversity in farmland contributes to provision of the ecosystem services such as pollination, pest control and decomposition, and how these ecosystem services respond to compositional and configurational heterogeneity.
• To develop agronomically acceptable and practical approaches that will create spatial cropping patterns that promote biodiversity-based ecosystem services.
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : WC1034 Final Report 2015   (1005k)
• ANX - Annex : Appendix 1 - Landscape Selection   (669k)
• ANX - Annex : Appendix 2 - Obj 2 Biodiversity summary tables   (680k)
• ANX - Annex : Appendix 3 - Obj 2 Farming practices data   (49k)
• ANX - Annex : Appendix 4 - Obj 4 Interaction results   (377k)
• ANX - Annex : Appendix 5 - Obj 5 Protocol for mental model interviews   (265k)
• ANX - Annex : Appendix 6 - Obj 5 Mental model data   (45k)
• ANX - Annex : Appendix 7 - Farmer Workshop attendance   (296k)
• ANX - Annex : Appendix 8 - Obj 6 Workshop protocol   (344k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2011

To: 2014

Cost: £148,480
Contractor / Funded Organisations
BTO Services Limited