Study title
Evaluation of different management techniques for enhancing biodiversity in arable and grassland systems, and their significance at a lanscape scale
Ref study 6788
Study language English
Contributing institutions
  • Agriculture
  • Biodiversity
  • Sustainability
Geographical space
The tremendous increase in agricultural production in Europe in the past 50 years has come at a considerable cost in terms of environmental impact and loss in biological diversity. Different techniques aimed at maintaining and promoting biological diversity in arable land and grasslands are now being tested. The specific goals of this project, which started in January 1996, are to assess the effectiveness of these different management schemes, and to examine how individual areas contribute to biological diversity at a landscape scale. A larger goal of this project is to contribute to a greater sustainability in agriculture.
This project is collaborating closely with the projects of Padruot M. Fried and David Dubois, Niklaus Zbinden and Bruno Bruderer and Diethart Matthies.
Methods (description)
The main research area for arable work is the Klettgau region of Switzerland, where a large number of compensation strips have been sown in the last ten years, using different methods to promote species diversity (under a scheme developed by the Swiss Ornithological Institute). Treatments focused on in this study are wild flower strips of different duration (“Buntbrachen”) including wandering fallows (“Wanderbrachen”) sown with various wild flower mixtures. Besides arable weed conservation strips (“Feldflorareservate”) are looked at, i.e. areas sown with low densities of cereals and without application of pesticides, where arable weeds recruit spontaneously. Floristic diversity is being assessed using random quadrats; invertebrate diversity (in particular Heteroptera) is being studied using a standard sweep net technique. Diversity in the compensation areas will be compared with that found in surrounding agricultural land.
The research on grasslands is being carried out nearby in the Schaffhauser Randen mountains, an extensive forested area with a number of enclaves of agricultural land containing variable mixtures of arable and grassland systems. Techniques similar to those described above are being used to study how the intensity of management affects species diversity of both plants and selected invertebrates.
Data will be analyzed both at a site scale, to provide information on how different management techniques affect diversity at a specific site, and at a landscape scale, using a Geographic Information System to assess whether species richness in the study sites can be related to factors such as degree of isolation, or the structural diversity of the landscape in which they occur.
In the second phase of the project experiments to investigate dispersal and establishment processes have been set up.

Methods (instruments)
Replicated study No
  • Edwards, Peter J.; Abivardi, C.. 1998. The value of biodiversity - where ecology and economy blend. In: Biological Conservation 83:239–246. 1998.
Unpublished documents
  • Studer, Sibylle; Di Giulio, Manuela; Edwards, Peter J.. 1998. Enhancing biodiversity in agricultural grasslands: the role of management and landscape structure. In: Proceedings of the VII International Congress of Ecology, Florence 1998.
Financed by
Ethical approval No
Study type
Data availability
Source (Updates) SNSF
Date created 30.03.2000
Date modified 30.03.2000
Start - End date 01.01.1996 - 28.01.2001