A growing number of European farmers are combining farming with nature management, or using agro-ecological practices such as intercropping or agroforestry. This nature-friendly farming promises many benefits. Trees and hedges can protect grain against droughts and pests, they store carbon, and can provide fodder, fruits or nuts, etc. Farmers can also earn an additional income from services such as tourism or nature management. Combining farming with nature is a new development, however, and many questions have still to be answered.
Mixed cropping systems
FACCE-JPI and the European funding network BiodivERsA, have set up a transnational programme to answer two major questions. To what extent can biodiversity support agriculture? And, which policies and governance systems can best promote these nature-friendly systems? The ten chosen projects include developing strategies to protect honeybees, evaluating mixed cropping systems, and the positive role that biodiversity can fulfil in protecting crops against pests and droughts
Land sharing-land sparing debate
The results are expected at the end of 2018. Meanwhile, FACCE-JPI and BiodivERsA have decided to strengthen their collaboration in order to enhance their impact on policymaking (e.g. EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and Biodiversity Strategy). In a workshop in Brussels (April 2018), the organizations decided to focus, in the coming years, on the potential of agro-ecology, and how a market can be created for more nature-friendly products. They will also focus on the so called land sharing-land sparing debate. Should farmers share land with nature (agro-ecological approach) or should they spare land for nature, and go for more intensive agriculture?
These and other questions will be elaborated in the next common research call, and/or discussed in a future knowledge hub. FACCE-JPI and BiodivERsA also want to organize joint valorisation workshop(s) in early 2019 for national/EU policymakers and practitioners.
Joint research programme with the BiodivERsA ERA-NET ‘Promoting synergies and reducing trade-offs between food supply, biodiversity and ecosystem service 10 million Euro, 10 projects (2014-2018).
Joint workshop BiodivERsA and FACCE-JPI on 25-26 April in Brussel. Read the report to learn how the organizations intend to collaborate in the coming years.