How effective environmental measures are in agriculture for biodiversity and wild bee populations depends on a variety of factors and your perspective. This is shown by agri-environmentalists from the University of Göttingen, Germany, and the Center for Environmental Research in Vakragot, Hungary. The research team found that when evaluating the effectiveness of different measures, in the field (organic farming) or nearby (flower strips in conventional farming), the benefits of biodiversity should be evaluated differently. Scientists believe that comparing environmental measures can easily be misleading. The study is published in the journal Basic and applied ecology.
The researchers studied ten agricultural landscapes near Göttingen, each containing three fields of winter wheat: one organic field, one ordinary field with flower stripes and one conditional field without flower strips. For two years an abundance of wild bees was recorded on the edges of each of these thirty fields. The results showed that a simple comparison of data taken from specific sites could lead to the conclusion that conventional fields with stripes of flowers can attract far more bees than organic ones, but this is not a complete story.
“If we looked more closely, it didn’t give us a complete picture, because we didn’t take into account that flower strips occupy only about five percent of ordinary fields, which are generally much smaller than bees than organic farmland,” said Professor Thea Charntke. , Department of Agroecology, University of Göttingen. Dr Peter Battery, head of the group at the Center for Organic Research in Vakrata, Hungary, says: “In short, organic farming, where there are usually more wild plants than conventional fields, is actually more successful than conventional fields with flower stripes in promotion bees. ».
What is missing in the jigsaw is that cereal fields in organic farming yield only half the yield of conventional farming. If we take into account the loss of wheat harvest, then ten hectares of organic farmland should be compared with five hectares of conventional farmland plus five hectares of flower strips, which will result in 3.5 times more bees, but the same yield. In that case, organic farming would not be the best way to support wild bees.
“These data and opinions show that different landmarks and criteria need to be taken into account when assessing agri-environmental measures. Only if we take into account the area along with yields along with the type of farm can we achieve a balanced understanding of environmental and economic efficiency,” the authors said.
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