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A methodological framework for analysing landscape dynamics in relation to organic farming

Levin, Gregor (2003) A methodological framework for analysing landscape dynamics in relation to organic farming. Speech at: Crossing the boundary between natural and social sciences., University of Copenhagen, Department of Geography, August 18-20, 2003.

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Summary

Since the mid-1980’ies Danish agriculture has been subject to a growing conversion into organic farming. Today roughly 6% of the cultivated land is farmed organically. Consequently, organic farming has a growing impact on the Danish agricultural landscape.
It is generally expected that conversion to organic farming leads to landscapes with a rich and diverse nature. However, for organic farming in Denmark there exist no specific rules or guidelines concerning conservation and/or improvement of nature values at landscape scale. A positive effect of organic farming techniques on nature content within cultivated fields is relatively well documented. Yet, information about the relation between organic farming and nature values outside or surrounding cultivated land and at landscape level is very limited.
Few empirical studies indicate a slight positive relation between organic farming and e.g. hedge density, permanent grassland and density of remnant biotopes. However, these studies are performed at farm scale and do thus lack the landscape context. Furthermore, due to short time scales, these studies can only to a limited degree unveil whether a positive effect on nature value can be subscribed to the conversion to organic farming or if the underlying factors have to be found elsewhere (e.g. farm structure, land use history, biophysical forces etc.).
In the current study, focus is directed towards nature content composed by landscape elements outside the cultivated land (e.g. hedges, field boundaries, remnant biotopes and permanent grassland). These landscape elements will be registered on basis of aerial photos with help of a geographical information system (GIS). The registration will be performed for a 4-5 case areas (~5*5km each) and will cover period of roughly 35 years, with special focus on the last 5-10 years, where most conversions into organic farming occurred. The choice of time- and spatial scale should give the study the necessary landscape perspective and time horizon.
Underlying forces and key factors for landscapes’ nature content can range from socio-economic, political and biophysical character. Information on such factors will be derived from both statistical data sources as well as questionnaires and interviews conducted with both organic and conventional farmers. As far as possible these data will be geo-related in a GIS database, in order to allow to draw a direct reference between nature content and underlying forces and key factors.


EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Speech
Keywords:landscape changes, temporal scale, spatial scale, GIS
Subjects: Environmental aspects > Landscape and recreation
Research affiliation: Denmark > DARCOF II (2000-2005) > III.5 Nature quality in organic farming
Deposited By: Levin, PhD Geography Gregor
ID Code:1361
Deposited On:26 Oct 2004
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:28
Document Language:English
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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