The former Iron Curtain still drives biodiversity-profit trade-offs in German agriculture

P. Batáry, Róbert Gallé, Friederike Riesch, Christina Fischer, Carsten F. Dormann, Oliver Mußhoff, Péter Császár, Silvia Fusaro, Christoph Gayer, Anne Kathrin Happe, Kornélia Kurucz, Dorottya Molnár, Verena Rösch, Alexander Wietzke, Teja Tscharntke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Agricultural intensification drives biodiversity loss and shapes farmers' profit, but the role of legacy effects and detailed quantification of ecological-economic trade-offs are largely unknown. In Europe during the 1950s, the Eastern communist bloc switched to large-scale farming by forced collectivization of small farms, while the West kept small-scale private farming. Here we show that large-scale agriculture in East Germany reduced biodiversity, which has been maintained in West Germany due to >70% longer field edges than those in the East. In contrast, profit per farmland area in the East was 50% higher than that in the West, despite similar yield levels. In both regions, switching from conventional to organic farming increased biodiversity and halved yield levels, but doubled farmers' profits. In conclusion, European Union policy should acknowledge the surprisingly high biodiversity benefits of small-scale agriculture, which are on a par with conversion to organic agriculture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1279-1284
Number of pages6
JournalNature Ecology and Evolution
Volume1
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2017

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profits and margins
biodiversity
iron
agriculture
organic production
collectivization
farming systems
farmers
German Democratic Republic
small-scale farming
agricultural intensification
organic farming
German Federal Republic
small farms
ecological economics
edge effects
European Union
agricultural land
farm
profit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology

Cite this

Batáry, P., Gallé, R., Riesch, F., Fischer, C., Dormann, C. F., Mußhoff, O., ... Tscharntke, T. (2017). The former Iron Curtain still drives biodiversity-profit trade-offs in German agriculture. Nature Ecology and Evolution, 1(9), 1279-1284. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-017-0272-x

The former Iron Curtain still drives biodiversity-profit trade-offs in German agriculture. / Batáry, P.; Gallé, Róbert; Riesch, Friederike; Fischer, Christina; Dormann, Carsten F.; Mußhoff, Oliver; Császár, Péter; Fusaro, Silvia; Gayer, Christoph; Happe, Anne Kathrin; Kurucz, Kornélia; Molnár, Dorottya; Rösch, Verena; Wietzke, Alexander; Tscharntke, Teja.

In: Nature Ecology and Evolution, Vol. 1, No. 9, 01.09.2017, p. 1279-1284.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Batáry, P, Gallé, R, Riesch, F, Fischer, C, Dormann, CF, Mußhoff, O, Császár, P, Fusaro, S, Gayer, C, Happe, AK, Kurucz, K, Molnár, D, Rösch, V, Wietzke, A & Tscharntke, T 2017, 'The former Iron Curtain still drives biodiversity-profit trade-offs in German agriculture', Nature Ecology and Evolution, vol. 1, no. 9, pp. 1279-1284. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-017-0272-x
Batáry, P. ; Gallé, Róbert ; Riesch, Friederike ; Fischer, Christina ; Dormann, Carsten F. ; Mußhoff, Oliver ; Császár, Péter ; Fusaro, Silvia ; Gayer, Christoph ; Happe, Anne Kathrin ; Kurucz, Kornélia ; Molnár, Dorottya ; Rösch, Verena ; Wietzke, Alexander ; Tscharntke, Teja. / The former Iron Curtain still drives biodiversity-profit trade-offs in German agriculture. In: Nature Ecology and Evolution. 2017 ; Vol. 1, No. 9. pp. 1279-1284.
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