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.
The ECODEAL project, coordinated from Lund, 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.
This research in ECODEAL is funded through the 2013–2014 biodivERsA and FACCE-JPI joint call for research proposals, with the national funders FORMAS, MINECO, ANR, FWF, PT-DLR, BMBF and NWO.