© Marcel Burkhardt
Zellweger-Fischer, J., S. Birrer, M. Jenny, S. Stoeckli & L. Pfiffner (2015)
A Credit Point System for assessing and enhancing biodiversity at the farm scale - and beyond.
pp 54–55 in: D. Ó hUallacháin & J. Finn: Farmland conservation with 2020 vision. Teagasc, Wexford
Over the past decades, farmland biodiversity has decreased drastically in many European countries, and Switzerland is no exception. There have been attempts to halt and reverse this decline for over 20 years. The Swiss government spends 2.8 bn Swiss Francs annually on subsidy payments for agriculture. Ca. 8% is expended on ecological compensation areas (ECAs), the official options of the Swiss agrienvironmental scheme (AES). Despite these efforts, no general increase of biodiversity has been observed at the national level.
On-farm experience shows that many farmers are interested in promoting biodiversity on their farms. However, a lack of knowledge transfer on ecology and agri-environmental issues seem to hinder farmers from managing their land in a more wildlifefriendly manner.
Enhancing farmland biodiversity has often been initiated at the plot level, although the principle unit of decision making in agriculture is the farm, and decisions on promoting biodiversity are also taken at that level.
We thus focused on the farm level and developed a tool which assesses on-farm biodiversity as a whole. With this tool, farmers are rewarded credit points for their efforts for biodiversity.