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

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?  

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?

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’

Monitoring Welsh agri-environment schemes

Alongside the British Ecological Society Policy team, Michael MacDonald looks at the future of environmental funding in agricultural landscapes and discusses his new article, Have Welsh agri-environment schemes delivered for focal species? Results from a comprehensive monitoring programme. Agri-environment schemes (AES) have been European governments’ major attempt to reduce and reverse biodiversity losses on farmland. However, there have been criticisms of the performance of AES, … Continue reading Monitoring Welsh agri-environment schemes

Spotlight: Managing biodiversity and ecosystem services in farmland landscapes

Issue 56:1 of Journal of Applied Ecology turns its focus to innovative developments in sustainable food production with the Spotlight, Landscape‐level design for managing biodiversity in agroecosystems. Associate Editor, Tomas Pärt and colleagues from The Landscape Ecology Network group at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences summarize the importance of this new collection of work. How should we use and manage agricultural landscapes for sustainable … Continue reading Spotlight: Managing biodiversity and ecosystem services in farmland landscapes

To share or to spare…

That is the question Associate Editor, Gavin Siriwardena (British Trust for Ornithology) invites you to explore at a new Interactive Session during this year’s British Ecological Society Annual Meeting. Here he offers an insight into ‘When and how are land-sparing and land-sharing appropriate for environmental management’? Find out how you can get involved here. Recent studies have proposed land-sparing as an optimal solution for biodiversity … Continue reading To share or to spare…

The orchard guardian: pest vole control by owls

Following the recently published article, Effectiveness of vole control by owls in apple orchards, Chie Murano highlights the vital role predators such as Ural owls play in protecting farmers’ produce from pests.   Voles are one of the world’s major pests. For the past few decades, Japanese farmers, especially apple producers have suffered from escalating levels of apple tree damage caused by the Japanese field … Continue reading The orchard guardian: pest vole control by owls

Better many small than a few large: how landscape configuration affects arthropod communities in rice agroecosystems

Can splitting agricultural ecosystems help reduce yield losses for rice farmers? Associate Editor, Juan Corley highlights the importance of Dominik et al.’s recent research, Landscape composition, configuration, and trophic interactions shape arthropod communities in rice agroecosystems. A Spanish version of this post is available here. For many of us city dwellers, rice is common in much modern cuisine, from Sushi to Spanish paella. However more … Continue reading Better many small than a few large: how landscape configuration affects arthropod communities in rice agroecosystems

Mejor muchos pequeños que pocos grandes: sobre como la configuración del paisaje afecta las comunidades de artrópodos en agro-ecosistemas de arroz

Associate Editor, Juan Corley on Dominik et al.’s research, Landscape composition, configuration, and trophic interactions shape arthropod communities in rice agroecosystems. English version available here. Para muchos de nosotros habitantes de ciudades, el arroz están muy presente en nuestra cocina habitual, desde el Sushi hasta la Paella. No obstante, quizás sea de mayor significación es el hecho de que el arroz sea el cereal más … Continue reading Mejor muchos pequeños que pocos grandes: sobre como la configuración del paisaje afecta las comunidades de artrópodos en agro-ecosistemas de arroz