Landwirtschaft für Artenvielfalt (Farming for Species Diversity)

In collaboration with project partners, WWF Germany is working to develop and implement a new nature conservation module for organic farming. The aim is to achieve a verifiable increase in the biodiversity of wild animals and plants in habitats shaped by agriculture.


Improved reputation and sales in organic farming

Habitats used for farming play an important role in biodiversity in Central Europe. However, intensive land use has resulted in a dramatic increase in biodiversity loss. Flower-filled meadows bursting with wildlife are now rare.

With the nature conservation module, the project conducted jointly by WWF, Biopark and EDEKA supermarkets aims to combat the dramatic decline in native animals and plants. The nature conservation module is an additional training qualification for special services to promote biodiversity. The measures were initially tested in the pilot region of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania and were extended to other German states in 2014. The project is supported by scientific research conducted by the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALV), which is also the implementing organisation.

The new nature conservation training module is not only designed to achieve a visible improvement in nature conversation, but also to improve public perceptions of organic farming, improve marketing opportunities for organic products and thus secure sales at fair prices.

EDEKA supports the project and guarantees producers that it will stock their organic produce and products. These can be recognised by the specially-designed label – Landwirtschaft für Artenvielfalt (Farming for Species diversity). Consumers can use a tracking code to trace a product’s origin back to the farm from which it came. The first products (meat and potatoes) bearing the label appeared in EDEKA supermarkets in spring 2015.


Tailored biodiversity measures

The nature conservation training module provides general and acceptable rules for the evaluation of nature conservation services. At the same time, it takes account of the many farm and location-specific production processes and conditions.

The core of the nature conservation training module comprises a comprehensive catalogue with options covering various aspects of farming, e.g. cropland and grassland (fields and meadows), and landscape elements (such as hedges and ponds). The catalogue thus contains measures for a variety of species with differing habitat demands.

The module also contains ‘success-oriented services’. These integrate the occurrence of threatened animals and plants into the assessment. A points system (similar to those used in many successful agri-environmental programmes) indicates the extent to which the various measures protect and promote the respective species and their habitats. For successful completion of the nature conservation training module, a minimum score must be achieved from the combined points accrued across all farming areas. Nature conservation advisory service forms an important pillar of the module. The assessment of nature conservation measures and use of the points-based system involves monitoring selected species – such as the Eurasian skylark (Alauda arvensis), the Great Crested Newt (Triturus cristatus) and lamb succory (Arnoseris minima) – together with parallel research studies.


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