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Good Pastures, Good Meadows: Mountain Farmers’ Assessment, Perceptions on Ecosystem Services, and Proposals for Biodiversity Management

Wezel, Alexander; Stöckli, Sibylle; Tasser, Erich; Nitsch, Heike and Vincent, Audrey (2021) Good Pastures, Good Meadows: Mountain Farmers’ Assessment, Perceptions on Ecosystem Services, and Proposals for Biodiversity Management. Sustainability, 13 (5609), pp. 1-15.

[thumbnail of Wezel_2021-GoodPastures.pdf] PDF - Published Version - English
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Document available online at: https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/13/10/5609


Summary

An ongoing decrease in habitat and species diversity is occurring in many areas across Europe, including in grasslands in mountain areas, calling for adapted biodiversity management and measures. In this context, we carried out 79 interviews with grassland farmers in five alpine mountain regions in Germany, France, Austria, Italy, and Switzerland. We analyzed farmers’ perceptions about the functions and services of their grasslands, how they qualify “good” grasslands, which grassland management practices have changed over the last 10 years, and proposals to increase species diversity on the farm. They related them primarily to cultural ecosystem services, secondly to provisioning services, and thirdly to regulating and supporting services. Good pastures or meadows were mostly related to composition, quality of forage and productivity, structural criteria, and certain characteristics of soils and topography. The measures for increasing biodiversity that were most frequently proposed were upgrading of forest edges, planting hedges or fruit trees, less or late grassland cutting, reduction or omission of fertilization, and more general extensification of farm productions. Factors hindering the implementation of these measures were mainly increased workload, insufficient time, and a lack of financial means or support to cover additional costs for biodiversity management. These factors have to be taken specifically into account for future policies for enhanced biodiversity management of grasslands, also beyond mountainous areas. Overall, we found that farmers have good but varying knowledge about biodiversity management of their grasslands, but also different perspectives on how to improve it. Here, local initiatives that bring together farmers and flora or fauna specialists to exchange knowledge could be designed and used in participatory pilot schemes to enhance the implementation of improved biodiversity management.


EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:biodiversity, ecosystem services, climate change adaptation, farmers' attitudes
Agrovoc keywords:
Language
Value
URI
English
biodiversity
http://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_33949
English
ecosystem services
http://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_1348040570280
English
climate change adaptation
http://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_1374567058134
English
farmers' attitudes
http://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_173a2356
Subjects: Environmental aspects > Biodiversity and ecosystem services
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Sustainability > Biodiversity
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Sustainability > Climate
France > ISARA - Institut supérieure d’agriculture Lyon
Italy > Other organizations
Germany > Other organizations
DOI:doi.org/10.3390/su13105609
Deposited By: Stöckli, Dr. Sibylle
ID Code:39928
Deposited On:28 May 2021 13:03
Last Modified:28 May 2021 13:03
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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