QuESSA: Quantification of Ecological Services for Sustainable Agriculture
Nature can provide a multitude of hidden benefits to humans such as control of crop pests by their natural enemies, crop pollination and prevention of soil erosion that keeps rivers clean. These are known as ecological services and are worth billions of Euros every year in each European country.
The QUESSA project aims to quantify the key semi-natural habitats (SNH) providing these essential ecological services (ES) across economically important cropping systems, farming intensities and four European agro-climatic zones.
This is achieved by first identifying and linking the vegetation traits that support potential ES for the main SNH found on farmed land. Actual ES provision has been measured in 16 case studies in 8 countries. The ES investigated included control of crop pests by natural enemies, crop pollination, soil erosion, soil fertility and weed control. The relative socio-economic importance of the selected ecological services was also determined.