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Farmland biodiversity - in the hands and minds of farmers

effects of landscape structure, management and the farmer's interest in nature

Ahnström, Johan (2009). Farmland biodiversity - in the hands and minds of farmers. Diss. (sammanfattning/summary) Uppsala : Sveriges lantbruksuniv., Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae, 1652-6880 ; 2009:34
ISBN 978-91-86195-81-6
[Doctoral thesis]

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Recent declines in farmland biodiversity have been attributed to agricultural intensification. Organic farming and other Agri-Environmental Schemes have been implemented to counter the biodiversity decline. Decisions concerning farming systems and farm management are taken by the farmer and since these decisions have consequences for biodiversity the motivations behind them need to be understood. The main aim of this thesis is to study how farmers relate to biodiversity on their farm, how biodiversity depends on farmers' perspectives of nature and the direct effects of farm management practices. A meta-analysis was conducted comparing biodiversity and abundance on organically and conventionally managed land. Organic management on average resulted in 30% higher species richness and 50% higher abundance, but the effect varied greatly between studies, organism groups and study scale. To empirically study how farmers relate to nature and how this affects biodiversity interviews were conducted with 16 farmers in south-central Sweden, and inventories made of species richness on their fields and farmsteads. The relation between species richness, local management and the surrounding landscape was explored. Bird species richness on the farmsteads was positively affected by the area of houses and animal production on the farm. Species composition was also associated with composition of the surrounding landscape. Biodiversity, represented by the proportion of the regional richness found on single fields summed over the five organism groups, increased significantly with farmers' interest in nature and decreased with local farming intensity, measured as crop density. Interest in nature is the social relationship of farmers with their ecological context, and their personal feelings and perceptions of nature. The main conclusion from this thesis is that farmers' interest in nature matters for biodiversity but exactly how and by what means needs further study. In any case, this factor needs to be included when designing and studying future agricultural landscape management, for sustainable production and maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Authors/Creators:Ahnström, Johan
Title:Farmland biodiversity - in the hands and minds of farmers
Subtitle:effects of landscape structure, management and the farmer's interest in nature
Series Name/Journal:Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
Year of publishing :2009
Number of Pages:116
ALLI Bengtsson, J., Ahnström, J. & Weibull, A-C. 2005. The effects of organic agriculture on biodiversity and abundance: a meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Ecology 42, 261-269. II Ahnström, J., Höckert, J., Bergeå L, H., Francis, C.A., Skelton, P. & Hallgren, L. 2009. Farmers and nature conservation: What is known about attitudes, context factors and actions affecting conservation? Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems. 24, 38-47. III Ahnström, J., Berg, Å. & Söderlund, H. 2008. Birds on farmsteads – effects of landscape and farming characteristics. Ornis Fennica 85, 98-108. IV Ahnström, J., Hallgren, L. & Boonstra, W. Are you interested in nature? Farmers' perception and experience of nature and nature conservation in Sweden. Submitted manuscript V Ahnström, J., Bengtsson, J., Berg, Å., Hallgren, L., Boonstra, W. & Björklund, J. Farmers' interest in nature enhance biodiversity in arable fields. Submitted manuscript
Place of Publication:Uppsala
ISBN for printed version:978-91-86195-81-6
Publication Type:Doctoral thesis
Full Text Status:Public
Agrovoc terms:farmers, human behaviour, biodiversity, nature conservation, alternative agriculture, cropping systems, agricultural policies, environmental policies, sweden
Keywords:attitudes, perceptions, nature conservation, species richness, biodiversity, farmers, agri-environmental schemes, management, interviews
Permanent URL:
ID Code:1982
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Ecology
(S) > Dept. of Ecology
Deposited By: Johan Ahnström
Deposited On:24 Apr 2009 00:00
Metadata Last Modified:02 Dec 2014 10:15

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