Biodiversity of agricultural landscapes

Much of the biodiversity of Estonia and Europe is related to agricultural landscapes. The well-being of many insect species, vascular plants, and birds depends on food production practices, although the impact is twofold – the quality and sustainability of food production, in turn, depend on the biodiversity surrounding the field, soil health, and our ability to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

The biodiversity of agricultural landscapes and fertile soils are integral parts of food production, and the diversity of the landscape also provides livestock with a healthy habitat, clean water, and a varied diet.

In the course of the LIFE-IP ForEst&FarmLand project, agricultural producers, in cooperation with researchers from the University of Tartu, will establish demonstration areas, where the impact of different agro-ecological techniques on yield and biodiversity will be monitored. Researchers will help to find precise activities for each sample area that are compatible with the specific landscape and meet the preferences of producers. Techniques that increase soil carbon sequestration, enhance pollination and natural pest control, and otherwise combine food production and nature conservation are being tested. Researchers are studying the impact that the creation of grassland strips, establishment of arable islands, leaving unsown patches in cereal crops for the Eurasian skylark, and many other activities have on biodiversity and yields.

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Illustration of an eco-friendly agricultural landscape. Drawing: Maria Välja

Based on the data obtained during the experiments, we will identify the most suitable agro-ecological techniques for the conditions in Estonia, which will enable the development of more expedient agricultural support schemes in the future. Nature-friendly practices are available at (only in Estonian so far).

By the beginning of 2024, one of the largest agricultural companies in Central Estonia, Sadala Agro, Järvamaa Vocational Education Center, Airi Külvet - Farmer of the Year 2023 and organic producer Raimond Pihlap, have joined us.

Collaboration with Estonian farmers to reconcile food production, biodiversity and healthy soils is noticed also by Bankwatch Network!