© Markus Jenny
Owing to the close collaboration with farmers and the canton Schaffhausen, the Klettgau in northeastern Switzerland has become a model region for successful agri-environmental schemes.
The Klettgau (canton Schaffhausen, northeastern Switzerland) is an open landscape characterised by intensive arable farming and vineyards. The mild climate of the area favours an above-average diversity and density of endangered farmland species. At the heart of this project is the conservation and promotion of the grey partridge. Other breeding bird species benefit from the scheme devised for the partridge such as stone chat, quail, skylark, corn bunting, yellowhammer, whitethroat and red-backed shrike. The scheme also promotes brown hare, numerous threatened insect and rare arable plant species.
Since 1991, high-quality ecological compensation areas have been established in three intensively used arable regions to promote threatened species. It is our goal to raise the proportion of ecological compensation areas to 10% by implementing wild-flower and herbaceous strips, rotational fallows, extensively used meadows, conservation headlands and hedges and to connect the entire perimeter within the framework of a cantonal project. Furthermore, since 1994, the two near-extinct cereal species Emmer and Einkorn are being cultivated again following strict ecological guidelines and are being successfully marketed.
Owing to close collaboration with local partners, the applied nature of this project has strongly influenced agricultural measures in terms of biodiversity. The Klettgau is a model region of high importance for multifunctional and sustainable agriculture.
Breeding bird censuses and numerous detailed scientific studies demonstrate that threatened species of the open farmland can be effectively enhanced if habitat improvement is focused on the target species´ habitat requirements. Numbers of yellowhammer, red-backed shrike, skylark, marsh warbler, stone chat and common kestrel have markedly increased. Species like the Montagu´s harrier, yellow wagtail, grasshopper warbler and tree pipit have (re)colonised the study area.