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

Editor’s Choice 56:7: Can agri-environment be successful in a pesticide world?

Executive Editor, Marc Cadotte, provides an insight into the important research of Humann-Guilleminot et al. Their recent article, A nation‐wide survey of neonicotinoid insecticides in agricultural land with implications for agri‐environment schemes, is our July Editor’s Choice. In response to general concerns about the impacts of agricultural activities on native biodiversity and ecosystem health, European jurisdictions have implemented agri-environment schemes that regulate and mitigate agricultural … Continue reading Editor’s Choice 56:7: Can agri-environment be successful in a pesticide world?

Parches boscosos en paisajes agrícolas: la estrategia para conservar las aves Neotropicales

An English version of this post is also available here. Tras investigar la biodiversidad en zonas agrícolas y ganaderas por varios años, se ha encontrado que las fincas, haciendas y jardines tienen mucho potencial para conservar la biodiversidad. Sin embargo, dichas áreas no son reemplazos de las áreas protegidas ya que hay algunas especies que solamente habitan en áreas protegidas. Un nuevo artículo de investigación … Continue reading Parches boscosos en paisajes agrícolas: la estrategia para conservar las aves Neotropicales

Conservation grazing on saltmarsh: are agri-environment schemes helping?

Following a recently published Research Article, Jennifer Smart explores this question and considers ways we can continue to work with the farming community to achieve conservation goals. Jennifer worked on this post with the British Ecological Society Policy team. In contemporary landscapes, grazing by domesticated cattle and sheep has become an increasingly important aspect of grassland management. This is largely because natural processes such as … Continue reading Conservation grazing on saltmarsh: are agri-environment schemes helping?

On the horizon: omega-3 fatty acids in oil crops – saving fish or threatening insects?

An emerging genetic technology that makes oilseed crops produce omega-3 fatty acids promises health and sustainability benefits, but there’s a potential adverse impact on insects that hardly anyone is talking about. Lynn Dicks and Xavier Le Roux round off our ‘On the horizon’ series. Polyunsaturated, long chain omega-3 fatty acids are the reason why healthy diet recommendations usually include seafood and oily fish like salmon, … Continue reading On the horizon: omega-3 fatty acids in oil crops – saving fish or threatening insects?

Sustainable intensification: our quest for the ‘holy grail’

Is it possible to meet food demands and increase production without the damaging costs to the environment? Patrick White et al. tackle this challenge in their recently published research in the journal. As the world population grows, our finite land is put under increasing pressure to meet food demands. Historically we have increased agricultural yields by increasing the intensity of agricultural practices – for example … Continue reading Sustainable intensification: our quest for the ‘holy grail’

Editor’s Choice 56:4 – A worm in the apple

Issue 56:4’s Editor’s Choice, Management trade-offs on ecosystem services in apple orchards across Europe: Direct and indirect effects of organic production highlights the need for more environmentally friendly pest control approaches in order to keep up with increasing production demands and avoid damage to pollination services. Associate Editor, Juan Corley, comments on the article. Strategy to minimize the negative effects of pests and weeds is … Continue reading Editor’s Choice 56:4 – A worm in the apple

Do wildlife-friendly farming subsidy schemes deliver their expected benefits?

Recently Michael MacDonald examined the impact agri-environmental schemes have had in the UK and, in particular, Wales. Now Associate Editor Peter Manning highlights the need to focus on evidence of these schemes’ effects when considering agricultural policy reform. There is now overwhelming evidence that agricultural intensification has proven disastrous for wildlife, and that policies encouraging intensification are a key driver in this process. In Europe … Continue reading Do wildlife-friendly farming subsidy schemes deliver their expected benefits?

U.S. policy-based management improves grassland bird nest survival – although finer-scale habitat has superior predictive ability

In a recent study, Justin Shew and colleagues found nest survival improved with policy-based management and establishing native grasses but conclude finer-scale details often have superior predictive ability from a multi-scale perspective. Read more about their findings here. A video summary of their work is also available. Grassland and farmland bird populations have been declining around the world and these declines are primarily attributed to … Continue reading U.S. policy-based management improves grassland bird nest survival – although finer-scale habitat has superior predictive ability

Complex landscapes and complex decisions for farmland conservation

In this post, discover how farmland birds and agri-environmental schemes went from dissertation topic, to British Ecological Society Annual Meeting talk, to published paper for one early career researcher. Gergana Daskalova (University of Edinburgh) describes the evolution of Population responses of farmland bird species to agri‐environment schemes and land management options in Northeastern Scotland. Farmland birds: decades of decline and mixed benefits of agri-environmental schemes … Continue reading Complex landscapes and complex decisions for farmland conservation