Since 2014, the project developers have collaborated with local farmers to promote biodiversity in the farming countryside. The measures involved, which were designed especially for the project, meet nature conservation criteria and are easily integrated into farming operations. Once the project is completed, the measures are to be transferred:
The project measures improve habitats for insects, birds and many other animal groups, and form a connecting link between farming and the general public. With this innovative approach, the project demonstrates what collaborative nature conservation can achieve in conserving and improving biodiversity in arable landscapes.
As pollinators of both wild and cultivated crops, flower-visiting insects play a key role in agri-environmental schemes. In addition to their actual numbers, the diversity of pollinator species is also important. The project thus concentrates on promoting flower-visitor diversity. Since 2013, more than 30 kilometres of flowering fringes and 180 hectares of flowering catch crops have been planted, and nesting aids installed. The effectiveness of these measures with regard to wild bees and butterflies has been monitored in fauna surveys conducted since 2015. These surveys gave rise to the discovery of a new wild sand bee species (Andrena lagopus) in North Rhine-Westphalia in spring 2016.
The project also aims to make the farming countryside more aesthetically pleasing. It should be made attractive to passers-by and bring the diversity of the cultural landscape ‘on their doorstep’ to life. Information boards located throughout the project area and also printed information sheets provide background knowledge on the environmental benefits of the project measures, motivate people to become engaged in nature conservation and foster constructive dialogue between local people and local farmers.
Further development and evaluation of the project measures is performed by specially commissioned faunists, the North Rhine-Westphalia Chamber of Agriculture and the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF). Kiel University of Applied Sciences is also conducting a feasibility study to assess the suitability of the measures for use in long-term funding programmes.
Stiftung Rheinische Kulturlandschaft
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