In the ‘Farmland Species and Habitats’ (ALL-EMA) monitoring programme, experts measure the state of and changes in biodiversity in the Swiss agricultural landscape. Species and habitats are systematically recorded. Analyses show how effective the subsidised Ecological Focus Areas are, and where there is a need to improve them.
In recent years, potentially wet arable land in Switzerland has repeatedly been confronted with the issue of drainage renewal. At the same time, we have fallen far short of achieving the environmental objectives with regard to species and habitats, especially in the lowland region. We develop principles and highlight possible solutions. The focus lies on farmed wetlands, and dealing with drained soils. In addition to biodiversity, attention is also paid to agricultural production, as well as soil-, climate- and surface-water protection.
Agriculture maintains the cultivated landscape, thereby preventing forest encroachment. Since there is no market for these services to the general public, compensation is made by direct payments. The project is currently developing an impact analysis of this support, testing whether high-resolution satellite images are suitable for distinguishing between various management types of grassland, and thereby helping to monitor grassland use. In addition, we aim to clarify whether a landscape monitoring methodology developed by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment FOEN is suitable for assessing the impact of landscape-quality projects.
Honey bees and wild bees play an indispensable role as pollinators of wild plants and many agricultural crops. But bees are under pressure in agricultural landscapes. This project explores the interaction between different causes of endangerment, and develops measures for effectively promoting wild and honey bees and preserving their diversity. In addition, expected pollination deficits are to be assessed locally.
Hedges, tree stands and flower strips often exhibit greater species diversity than cultivated land. Using model systems, Agroscope investigates how agricultural landscapes should be structured so as to allow the suppression of pests. In this way, Agroscope promotes the quality of landscapes, a high level of biodiversity, and hence the competitive production of high-quality plant produce and products.
The SBB (Swiss Federal Railways) has ordered a feasibility study (2nd semester of 2018) on the greening of railway rights-of-way. An expert panel concluded that a greening of rights-of-way could be successful and would indeed offer potential ecological advantages, provided that safety risks were avoided.