This article was originally published on The Applied Ecologist’s Blog


“How should we use and manage agricultural landscapes for sustainable food production? Farming provides us with food and other goods that depend in some way or another on the diversity of a range of organisms that live in farmland and in the surrounding landscape. Changes in agricultural practice during the past 60 years have had serious effects on these species and the vital services that they provide.

This has driven an interest from the general public, the research community, politicians and practitioners into how to manage rural landscapes in a way that is sympathetic for biodiversity, whilst still also growing the food we need and ensuring farmers’ livelihoods. We, the Landscape Ecology Network at the Swedish University of Agricultural sciences spend a lot of time looking into these very issues, and thought that it would be an interesting and pretty straightforward task to summarize the eight papers that have been brought together for this Journal of Applied Ecology Spotlight on ‘Landscape-level design for managing biodiversity in agroecosystems’. However, as you will learn from this post, this mission was not as direct as we first imagined.

At first glance, it seemed like there would be no easy way to synthesize all the valuable insights presented in this range of studies. The authors address many burning issues and debates about how to manage farmland; from new perspectives on the old land sharing vs. land sparing arguments to the more recent focus on the need for farmer participation as a crucial element for landscape-level conservation. At the same time, the studies also brought fresh insights from regions, habitats and study species that have largely been underrepresented in the literature. It was a challenge, but after reading the papers, we did find a number of common themes of general relevance for biodiversity conservation in agricultural landscapes…”

Read on at: The Applied Ecologist’s Blog.