A variety of ecological and economic issues have been studied in the course of this five-year testing and development project. The aim was to try out more possibilities, even in organic farming, for optimising farming procedures that help protect nature while at the same time are economically sustainable.
For example, small strips of crop stubble on field edges should be tilled at a later date than usual. This gives late-flowering segetal flora species the chance to reach seed maturation, which also benefits brown hares, wandering amphibians, and seed-eating farmland birds such as the corn bunting.
“The project results show very clearly that there is a whole range of measures in agriculture that simultaneously benefit many wild animals and plants. Only a few adapted farm management procedures showed adverse effects for individual target species. That is why, for example, the late cutting of legume-grass leys to protect ground-breeding birds and brown hares should not be carried out near amphibian spawning areas, as the second cut then occurs during the time when the young animals are migrating. To prevent things going wrong, species-specific measures need to be planned and implemented as well as being optimised to fit with the economics of each farm and with the agricultural policy situation,” said BfN President Prof. Beate Jessel.
Working in very close cooperation with the 1,200 ha Demeter cash crop and dairy farm Ökodorf (Eco-Village) Brodowin GmbH & Co. KG, located northeast of Berlin, an interdisciplinary team explored various ecological, agronomic and economic issues over a period of five years. More detailed study was undertaken of typical species of wild animals and plants found in agricultural landscapes, specifically within the group of farmland and hedgerow birds (e.g. the skylark and corn bunting), amphibians, insects, mammals (brown hare) as well as wild segetal flora and dry grassland flora. The study focused in particular on evaluating the nature conservation-based optimisation measures in the cultivation of legume-grass leys, cereal crops and grain legumes as well as so-called structural measures such as establishing field margins, blossom strips and buffer strips around water bodies, and the maintenance and management of woody plants.
The test project was carried out by the Ökodorf Brodowin eco-village in collaboration with the Demeter farm Ökodorf Brodowin GmbH & Co. KG and the Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF) on behalf of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN).The new publication provides scientific background information to accompany the manual "Nature conservation in organic farming" by Sarah Fuchs and Karin Stein-Bachinger, published in 2008. The results are representative for large parts of northeast Germany and can be applied and/or adapted to comparable regions and farming systems. The Demeter farm in Brodowin continues to implement selected nature conservation measures, enabling it to function as an example of the successful transfer of scientific results into farming practice (up-to-date information available at www.brodowin.de and www.naturschutzhof.de).
The book has appeared in the series "Nature conservation and biological diversity" (no. 90), published by the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, and can be purchased at the price of €24 from the BfN publications sales office. (http://www.buchweltshop.de/bfn/)To obtain more information/interviewees, please contact the ZALF press office:
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