Environmentally friendly management as an intermediate strategy between organic and conventional agriculture to support biodiversity

Riho Marja, Irina Herzon, Eneli Viik, Jaanus Elts, Marika Mänd, Teja Tscharntke, P. Batáry

Research output: Article

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Farmland biodiversity dramatically declined in Europe during the 20th century. Agri-environment schemes (AES) were introduced in the late 1980s in European Union countries as a solution to combat biodiversity decline. We examined the effectiveness of AES in enhancing biodiversity in a new EU member country (Estonia) over the period of 2010-2012. We compared species numbers and abundance of bumblebees and birds, plus cover of flowers, between three farming systems in two regions of Estonia. Farm types included conventional and two under AES (organic and a less strict environmentally friendly management agreement). Environmentally friendly management practices in Estonia include diversified crop rotations, at least 15% of arable land (including rotational grasslands) under legumes, permanent grassland strips, protection of landscape elements, reduced applications of agrochemicals, etc. The two selected regions (North and South) differed in landscape structure, soil types and crop yields. Flower cover and bird species richness and abundance without the dominant species (skylark) were higher on organic farms. Bumblebee species richness was significantly higher under both types of AES than under conventional farming. Flower cover, abundance and species richness of bumblebees and birds were significantly higher in the more heterogeneous landscapes of Southern Estonia. Environmentally friendly management may be a viable alternative to organic farming for a widely accepted, simple but large-scale greening of agricultural landscapes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-154
Number of pages9
JournalBiological Conservation
Volume178
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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Estonia
Bombus
biodiversity
agriculture
flower
species richness
flowers
species diversity
birds
agricultural land
grassland
farm
bird
farms
permanent grasslands
organic farming
landscape management
agrochemical
landscape structure
agrochemicals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

Cite this

Environmentally friendly management as an intermediate strategy between organic and conventional agriculture to support biodiversity. / Marja, Riho; Herzon, Irina; Viik, Eneli; Elts, Jaanus; Mänd, Marika; Tscharntke, Teja; Batáry, P.

In: Biological Conservation, Vol. 178, 2014, p. 146-154.

Research output: Article

Marja, Riho ; Herzon, Irina ; Viik, Eneli ; Elts, Jaanus ; Mänd, Marika ; Tscharntke, Teja ; Batáry, P. / Environmentally friendly management as an intermediate strategy between organic and conventional agriculture to support biodiversity. In: Biological Conservation. 2014 ; Vol. 178. pp. 146-154.
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