Editor’s Choice 57:04 – Enhancing biodiversity through more heterogeneous field designs

In Journal of Applied Ecology’s April Editor’s Choice, Alignier et al. present a way of promoting farmland biodiversity without sacrificing land needed for agricultural production. Associate Editor, Pieter De Frenne (Forest & Nature Lab, Ghent University, Belgium), introduces their exciting research. Researchers and policymakers are constantly testing, assessing and implementing different techniques to reduce the negative impacts of current agricultural practices on biodiversity. This is … Continue reading Editor’s Choice 57:04 – Enhancing biodiversity through more heterogeneous field designs

Editor’s Choice 57:03 – The economic implications of pollination by bats

For our March Editor’s Choice, Michael Pocock (Associate Editor) highlights the importance of recent research by Tremlett et al into pollination by bats and the value this brings to communities in Mexico. The slideshow above of images by César Guzmánr shows the journey of the pitaya fruit, for which bats are of key importance, from growth to market. One of the reoccurring themes in applied … Continue reading Editor’s Choice 57:03 – The economic implications of pollination by bats

Improving soil fertility in cocoa agroforests using the most suitable shade tree species

Can leaf quality explain the influence of shade tree species on the fertility of cocoa farms? Marie Sauvadet and colleagues summarise their recent research. Cocoa, a major commodity worldwide, is largely produced by smallholder farms in developing countries. With limited access to synthetic fertilisers and pesticides, smallhold farmers traditionally lean on cocoa ecology to ensure their harvest thorough the years. Cocoa naturally grows under the … Continue reading Improving soil fertility in cocoa agroforests using the most suitable shade tree species

Loss of bumblebees is a loss to farmers 

New research by Néstor Pérez‐Méndez et al. highlights the economic implications of declining pollinator species. Here the authors summarise their work. Recent expansion and intensification of agriculture to meet growing food demands is among the main drivers of the alarming loss of insect diversity worldwide. This decline can lead to a marked degradation of the ecosystem services that insects provide, such as pollination or regulation of crop … Continue reading Loss of bumblebees is a loss to farmers 

Editor’s Choice 57:01 – smaller woodlands in an agricultural world

Small but strong. Do we sometimes undervalue the benefits smaller woodlands bring to agricultural landscapes? Associate Editor Marney Isaac presents our first Editor’s Choice article of 2020, High ecosystem service delivery potential of small woodlands in agricultural landscapes, by Alicia Valdés and colleagues. Diversified farming systems result in a heterogeneous landscape that supports a suite of ecosystem services. These include, but are not limited to, … Continue reading Editor’s Choice 57:01 – smaller woodlands in an agricultural world

Why bats matter when it comes to pollination

In their recently published article, Tremlett et al. call for greater management focus for wild bat pollinator populations due to the ecosystem services they provide for valuable crops. Here they share a video of bat feeding in action and explain a little more about their work. *Update March 2020. The corresponding article to this video features as the Editor’s Choice for issue 57:03. Read Associate … Continue reading Why bats matter when it comes to pollination

Cover stories: conservation set-asides

This month’s cover image by Robin Hayward (University of Stirling) shows a conservation set-aside within a large oil palm plantation in Sabah, Borneo. Sarah Scriven (University of York), lead author of the corresponding article, Testing the benefits of conservation set-asides for improved habitat connectivity in tropical agricultural landscapes, tells us more about the story behind the photograph. The cover image shows a Roundtable on Sustainable … Continue reading Cover stories: conservation set-asides

Cover stories: is fallow management relevant to improving habitat suitability for steppe birds?  

Research by Ana Sanz‐Pérez et. al. shows how managing the vegetation structure of fallow fields with agricultural practices commonly used by farmers increases the occurrence of endangered steppe bird species. This work features as our September cover image, taken by Jordi Bas. Read a summary of the research and explore the promotion of fallow management in our latest cover story. And don’t forget to scroll … Continue reading Cover stories: is fallow management relevant to improving habitat suitability for steppe birds?  

春の日本の水田

片山直樹氏らの日本での研究によると、有機稲作は従来の農業よりも多くの植物、クモ、トンボ、カエル、水鳥を支えている。 A version of this post in English is available here. 20世紀半ば以降の農業の集約化と、より近年の耕作放棄は、農地の生物多様性に対する大きな脅威となっている。有機農法と低投入型農法(化学合成農薬および肥料の削減)は、農地の生物多様性を、進行中の生息地の損失と劣化から守る手段として期待されている。それにもかかわらず、有機農法や低投入型農法が生物多様性にもたらす利益についての知見は、主要な米の生産地であるアジアでは非常に少ない。 著者らの研究では、有機農法や低投入型農法で増える可能性のある様々な生物群(植物、クモ、トンボ、カエル、魚、および鳥)を、有機農法または低投入農法の水田で調査し、近隣の慣行農法の水田と比較した。1000以上の日本の圃場で現地調査を行った。日本では、主に地球温暖化防止や生物多様性保全のために、有機農法や低投入型農法を実施している農家に対して、国や自治体が支援を行っている(0.1 ha当たり最大8,000円=2019年5月21日時点で約72.6 USDまたは65.1 EURに相当)。 著者らは、有機農法の水田において、多くの生物群(在来およびレッドリスト植物、アシナガグモ属、アカネ属、およびトノサマガエル属)の種数・個体数が最も多くなることを実証した。水鳥の種数と個体数は、地域内の有機農法の実施面積に比例して増加し、これは広範囲で食物量を高めることの重要性を示唆した。また低投入型農法の水田は、慣行農法の水田よりも植物の種数とアシナガグモ属・アカネ属の個体数が多かった。さらに著者らは、農業者へのインタビューを通じて収集した農地管理に関するデータを用いて、化学合成農薬の低減や回避だけでなく、輪作の非実施、畦畔植生の維持および空間的にまとまった有機農業の実施によって、生物多用性に配慮した稲作が可能になることを示した。 これらの結果から、慣行農法と比較して、有機および低投入型稲作が農地の生物多様性が豊かであることが明らかになった。これにより、日本で実施されている農業環境政策(有機・特別栽培等に対する交付金制度)の効果について、科学的な評価基盤を提供することができた。さらに、輪作を回避すること、畦畔植生を適当な高さに維持すること、および有機栽培を行う水田を空間的にまとめることも、特定の分類群の保全に有効であることがわかり、こうした取組の推進が望まれる。 全文を参照, 有機農法およびそれに関連する管理手法が複数の生物群に利益をもたらす:水田景観における大規模な野外調査, in Journal of Applied Ecology. Continue reading 春の日本の水田

On the benefits of organic farming: Japanese rice fields in spring

Based on their research in Japan, Naoki Katayama and colleagues highlight how organic rice farming supports more plants, spiders, dragonflies, frogs and waterbirds than conventional farming. A version of this post in Japanese is available here. The intensification of agriculture since the mid-20th century, and the more recent abandonment of farmlands, have presented major threats to farmland biodiversity. Organic farming and less strict low-input farming … Continue reading On the benefits of organic farming: Japanese rice fields in spring