Department of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology


Enhancing biodiversity-based ecosystem services to crops through optimized densities of green infrastructure in agricultural landscapes ECODEAL

Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter, Emily Martin, Andrea Holzschuh, Elena Krimmer, Matteo Dainese Jochen Krauß, Fabian Bötzl

Funding: Biodiversa/BMBF
Duration: April 2015-March 2018

Project summary:
Ecological intensification relies on ecosystem services to substitute external inputs in agriculture and has been proposed as a way to achieve high yielding, stable and sustainable crop production, while allowing to reach other societal targets such as nature conservation or human health. Pollination and natural pest control are key ecosystem services that can reduce pesticide use and increase crop yield quantity and quality. Organisms delivering these services depend to a large extent on non-crop habitats, or "green infrastructure" in the landscape, as cropland is not well suited as a habitat all year round.

ECODEAL is a European research Biodiversa project assessing the impacts of green infrastructure on the delivery of ecosystem services and consequences for individual farmers and the whole society. The project aims to answer the following questions: How much green infrastructure do we need to maintain stable communities of ecosystem service providers, and a high flow and stability of the services to the crop? Which type or combination of green infrastructure, old or young flower areas, arable fallows, seminatural grasslands, optimises farmland biodiversity and ecosystem services? Since establishing non-crop habitat comes at a cost, which densities of green infrastructure will enhance crop yield and populations of service (or conservation) relevant species while providing net increases in crop productivity as well as net economic benefits to the farmer? ECODEAL will answer these questions.

Species groups: agricultural pests, pest control-related organisms incl. birds, pollinators

Study regions: Würzburg (Germany) and other European countries

Habitat: Agroecosystems

Methods: applied landscape ecology, GIS, yield measurements in crop fields, exclosure experiments for biocontrol and pollination assessment, biodiversity monitoring and sampling, greenhouse experiments