William Sidemo Holm
About my project
Already more than a third of the Earth’s land area is used for agriculture, mostly on lands previously covered by natural biotopes such as forests and grasslands. Even so the growing human population continuously drive the expansion of an ever more intensive agriculture. As a consequence, wild organisms lose their natural habitats, which is the main reason for the extinction of species. In addition to their ethical value, many species perform indispensable ecosystem services such as pollination, water purification and carbon sequestration. To stop losing species we urgently need to find a sustainable balance between agriculture and biodiversity conservation.
In my project I compare two recognized methods for preserving biodiversity and ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes. One is based on protecting natural habitats interspersed between agricultural fields, the other on applying more wild-life friendly farming methods. I compare the two methods in how they affect food production, threatened species and ecosystem services, in order to evaluate their cost-effectiveness.
I also look at synergies and conflicts between biodiversity and ecosystem services. The idea is to make environmental incentive schemes more effective by exploiting synergies and minimizing tradeoffs. For example, preserving an area which benefits numerous threatened species and ecosystem services that together are considered more valuable than the potential tradeoffs of decline in other ecosystem services and food production.
My research methods primarily include analyzing empirical data, economic and statistical modelling, and conceptual studies.
I started of my university studies with a Bachelor of Science with the major Biology at Lund University. I went through a broad range of interesting courses before ecology and nature conservation captivated me. I pursued my studies within these fields, and soon combined them with environmental and social sciences. I discovered ecological economics when doing a university exchange year at University of California, Santa Cruz. I decided to follow up on the topic and completed a second Bachelor of Science, this time in economics. My degree project was carried out in Costa Rica, interviewing farmers that received payments for preserving ecosystem services. Since then, through my Master of Science in Environmental Science to my ongoing PhD, my studies and research have been in the interdisciplinary area where ecology and economics meet to cost-effectively preserve nature through financial incentives.
Biodiversity, Ecosystem services, Agriculture, Cost-effectiveness, Landscape management, Financial incentives
Retrieved from Lund University's publications database