Management of Environmental Focus Areas

Bewirtschaftung BFF

Regarding this issue, the effect of hay blowers on flora and various mowing devices on fauna have been the focus of investigations in recent years:

Leaf blowers

On steep sites, the hay harvest is a labour-intensive time for farms. In order to accomplish this task more quickly and easily, hayblowers are therefore increasingly being used instead of rakes. The nature conservation organisation Pro Natura and the research institute for the agriculture and food sector Agroscope are currently testing the potential effects of hay blowers on the plant diversity of dry grasslands – a habitat that is in any case strongly at risk. In this study, vegetation surveys are conducted annually on a meadow on which plots with one of the two management methods alternate.

Publications and Reports

Survival in the Eco-Meadow

For the preservation and promotion of animals, different provisions or financial incentives are discussed in practice for the use of fauna-saving harvesting equipment and processes. However, it is unclear just which measures make sense.

The promotion and preservation of extensively managed meadows are among the most important measures for achieving our national environmental objectives in the sphere of agriculture. We are investigating how such meadows should be managed, where they should be established, and what measures should be used to promote animal and plant species that have become rare.
Does it make sense to prescribe or reward fauna-sparing mowing techniques for extensively managed meadows when we don’t know weather these benefits are all undone by the subsequent harvest steps such as warping, baling and removal? To discover whether this is the case, we compare the effect of different harvest processes on the fauna in extensively managed meadows. Using investigations in the field – especially those involving grasshoppers and butterfly caterpillars – and based on dummies, the effects of the different harvest steps, harvest machines and refuges are appraised. Policy and practical recommendations are issued for target-compliant management of eco-meadows.

Conducted in partnership with Prof. Jaboury Ghazoul (Institute for Terrestrial Ecosystems, ETH Zurich), the project was supported by the conservation and/or agricultural agencies of the cantons of Aargau, Bern, Basel-Landschaft, Fribourg, Glarus, Graubünden, Nidwalden, Lucerne, St. Gallen, Schaffhausen, Vaud, Zug and Zurich.

Publications and Reports