Optimising profitability of crop production through Ecological Focus Areas (EFAs)
How can EFAs, specifically landscape features and buffer strips, contribute to the profitability of crop production?
Landscape features provide habitats for beneficial insects and other arthropods, birds and plants. These can increase crop yields or reduce costs of production through pollination or by controlling crop pests. When appropriately designed and targeted, landscape features also control erosion, wind and nutrient loss and provide landscape amenities.
The EIP-AGRI Focus Group report focused on:
Field margins: the spontaneously established strips of herbaceous plants at the edge of fields
Hedgerows: composed of one of the two rows of planted or naturally established shrubs and/or trees
Grassy or flower strips: intentionally sown, the former mostly with grasses and the latter with flowering plants
The main scope was to examine if and how landscape features could contribute to the profitability of arable crop by increasing yields or reducing production costs. Additionally, other direct economic effects for the farmers can be considered including the production of wood, fruits, grass for horses, etc. The Focus Group also discussed the benefits of landscape features to society, such as aesthetic and social values, ecosystem services, that the markets mostly fail to provide.
Click here to download the factsheet.
SOURCE: EIP AGRI website