Biodiversity can replace external inputs to agricultural crops by delivering ecosystem services such as pollination and pest control, even in intensively farmed landscapes. The organisms driving these services depend on the presence of non-crop habitats, or “green infrastructure”, in the landscape.
We know little about how changes in quantity and quality of green infrastructure at different scales translate into net benefits. This makes it difficult to convince farmers that biodiversity can help them support crop production, and means that the evidence base for policymakers attempting to jointly address food security, rural development and environmental goals is insufficient.
About the ECODEAL project
The ECODEAL project, coordinated from Sweden with partners in Austria, France, Germany, The Netherlands and Spain, aims to reach a mechanistic understanding of the effects of green infrastructure at different spatial scales on crop ecosystem services. ECODEAL will provide recommendations on the scales at which sparing land from cultivation can support food production, biodiversity preservation and farm economic performance across a range of European agricultural systems.
ECODEAL is one of the projects shortlisted in the framework of a pan-European call for research projects on ”promoting synergies and reducing trade-offs between food supply, biodiversity and ecosystem services” (http://www.biodiversa.org/578). This call is a joint effort organized and funded by the European partners in the BiodivERsA/FACCE-JPI network.
Quantitative synthesis of existing data, large-scale empirical field studies in case study regions and multiple ecosystem service models will be used to quantify economic and ecological consequences of changes in quality and quantity of green infrastructure.
Communication and dialogue
Using existing networks, ECODEAL partners will engage the dialogue with the farming community, policy-makers and NGOs early-on to ensure questions are perceived as relevant, and the uptake of results facilitated. Demonstration of ecological mechanisms in the field, dialogue about obstacles on the path towards change and synthetic policy briefs will be part of the ECODEAL approach.
ECODEAL Project partners
- Yann Clough - Lund University Sweden
- Montserrat Vilà - Estación Biológica de Doñana (EBD-CSIC) Spain
- Adrien Rusch - INRA France
- Riccardo Bommarco - Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala Sweden
- Jochen Kantelhardt - University of Natural Resources and Life, Sciences Austria
- Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter - University of Würzburg Germany
- Vincent Bretagnolle - UPR 1934, Centre d'Études Biologiques de Chizé, CNRS France
- David Kleijn - Wageningen University The Netherlands