Number of Habitats Determines Species Diversity
The diversity of habitats is crucial for preserving species diversity in the agricultural area. Organic farms without targeted support measures such as additional biodiverse habitats have only slightly greater species diversity than other farms, as shown by a study in Europe and Africa within the BioBio research project. The indicator set developed by Agroscope allows the state of biodiversity on farms to be recorded with reasonable effort and expense.
Limiting the Increase in Water Demand
For many Swiss farmers, an increasingly warm climate means that crops will need to be irrigated more in future, although many rivers will be carrying less water. ‘The aim is to maintain productivity whilst minimising water demand and environmental impacts’ explains Jürg Fuhrer, who led the recently completed Swiss National Science Foundation project ‘Water Demand in Swiss Agriculture and Sustainable Adaptive Options for Land and Water Management’ (AGWAM) at Agroscope.
Wood Ash: An Attractive Nutrient Source for Agriculture
Ashes from the burning of wood are currently disposed of in landfills, since their metallic trace-element content exceeds authorised Swiss thresholds for application on agricultural land as recycled fertiliser. The use of wood ash as a calcium amendment and potassium fertiliser was tested on different soils and agricultural crops by the Plant Nutrition team. By improving the chemical and biological properties of the soils, the wood ash stimulated the production of dry matter and improved the quality of the crop, thereby demonstrating its potential as a potassium fertiliser and liming agent.