Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences - Biogeography

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Harnessing the biodiversity value of Central and Eastern European farmland

Farmland biodiversity depends on low-intensity farming practices, and Eastern Europe still harbors widespread traditional landscapes rich in farmland biodiversity. A large group of authors from Europe's East and West now highlights that farmland biodiversity in Eastern Europe is lost, and adequate conservation measures, adjusted to the local conditions in Eastern Europe, are needed to safeguard biodiversity heritage there.

Harnessing the biodiversity value of Central and Eastern European farmland


Laura M. E. Sutcliffe | Péter Batáry| Urs Kormann | András Báldi | Lynn V. Dicks | Irina Herzon | David Kleijn | Piotr Tryjanowski | Iva Apostolova | Raphaël Arlettaz | Ainars Aunins | Stéphanie Aviron | Ligita Baležentienė | Christina Fischer | Lubos Halada | Tibor Hartel | Aveliina Helm | Iordan Hristov | Sven D. Jelaska | Mitja Kaligarič | Johannes Kamp | Sebastian Klimek | Pille Koorberg | Jarmila Kostiuková | Anikó Kovács-Hostyánszki | Tobias Kuemmerle | Christoph Leuschner | Regina Lindborg | Jacqueline Loos | Simona Maccherini | Riho Marja | Orsolya Máthé | Inge Paulini | Vânia Proença | José Rey-Benayas | F. Xavier Sans | Charlotte Seifert | Jarosław Stalenga | Johannes Timaeus | Péter Török | Chris van Swaay | Eneli Viik| Teja Tscharntke

A large proportion of European biodiversity today depends on habitat provided by low-intensity farming practices, yet this resource is declining as European agriculture intensifies. Within the European Union, particularly the central and eastern new member states have retained relatively large areas of species-rich farmland, but despite increased investment in nature conservation here in recent years, farmland biodiversity trends appear to be worsening. Although the high biodiversity value of Central and Eastern European farmland has long been reported, the amount of research in the international literature focused on farmland biodiversity in this region remains comparatively tiny, and measures within the EU Common Agricultural Policy are relatively poorly adapted to support it. In this opinion study, we argue that, 10 years after the accession of the first eastern EU new member states, the continued under-representation of the low-intensity farmland in Central and Eastern Europe in the international literature and EU policy is impeding the development of sound, evidence-based conservation interventions. The biodiversity benefits for Europe of existing low-intensity farmland, particularly in the central and eastern states, should be harnessed before they are lost. Instead of waiting for species-rich farmland to further decline, targeted research and monitoring to create locally appropriate conservation strategies for these habitats is needed now.


Link to the mansucript: 10.1111/ddi.12288

Citation: Sutcliffe, L. M. E., Batáry,  P., Kormann, U., Báldi, A., Dicks, L. V., Herzon, I., Kleijn, D., Tryjanowski, P., Apostolova, I., Arlettaz, R., Aunins, A., Aviron, S., Balezentiene, L., Čierna-Plassmann, M., Fischer, C., Gabrielová, C., Halada, L., Hartel, T., Helm, A., Hristov, J., Jelaska, S. D., Kaligarič, M., Kamp, J., Klimek, S., Koorberg, P., Kovács-Hostyánszki, A., Kuemmerle, T., Leuschner, C., Lindborg, R., Loos, J., Maccherini, S., Marja, R., Máthé, O., Proença, V., Rey-Benayas, J., Sans, F.X., Seifert, C., Stalenga, J., Timaeus, J., Török, P., van Swaay, C., Viik, E., and Tscharntke, T. (2014): Where the wild things are: harnessing the biodiversity value of Central and Eastern European farmland. Diversity & Distributions, in press.