How to model trade-offs between agricultural yield and biodiversity

28.06.2017 By: European Commission DG Environment

New research has examined three different categories of Ecological Risk Assessment (ERA), each with different goals. The researchers find that overlaps between the three assessments could be combined to create a more comprehensive form of ERA, usable by regulators and environmental decision makers. There is an inherent trade-off between increasing agricultural production and protection of biodiversity. This study models the effects of biodiversity conservation agri-environment schemes (AESs) and ecosystem service provider schemes, and shows that determining the aim of an agri-environment scheme is key to improving its efficiency. Such an optimisation could allow AES to be rolled out more generally to provide the backbone for both high yields and enhanced farmland biodiversity, say the researchers. 

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Source: Ekroos, J., Olsson, O., Rundlöf, M. Wätzold, F. & Smith, H.G. (2014). Optimizing agri-environment schemes for biodiversity, ecosystem services or both? Biological Conservation, 172: 65–71.