TerraSuisse by Migros and IP-Suisse

The Swiss Ornithological Institute supports Migros and IP-Suisse in the advancement of the biodiversity label "TerraSuisse". In addition, the Swiss Ornithological Institute conducts a scientific evaluation of the ecological consequences on farms.


In May 2008, the wholesaler Migros launched the label TerraSuisse together with IP-Suisse (organisation for integrated farming). Foods marketed under this label are produced on IP-Suisse farms and stand for nature- and animal-friendly Swiss farming. IP-Suisse producers care to preserve natural habitats that benefit rare plants and animals and thus enhance farmland biodiversity.

The Swiss Ornithological Institute supports IP-Suisse and Migros in the matters concerning biodiversity and is responsible for the scientific evaluation.


The core element? of the TerraSuisse label is the credit point system (CPS) developed by the Swiss Ornithological Institute and the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL). The credit point system assesses the efforts/performance to promote biodiversity at the farm-level (see Scoring with biodiversity - farmers enrich nature). IP-Suisse integrated a slightly altered CPS in their production guidelines and made it mandatory for their producers to  reach a minimum CPS score. The required score represents an ecological standard which is markedly above the one prescribed by the government.

The Swiss Ornithological Institute regularly receives and evaluates the anonymised CPS data from IP-Suisse. This allows observing trends and changes in biodiversity efforts of IP-Suisse farmers over the years. It is thereby also possible to give suggestions on how to further optimise biodiversity efforts.

In a separate evaluation, we tested if the CPS score correlates with on-farm biodiversity and if it thus can be used as a farm-scale biodiversity indicator (see Scoring with biodiversity – farmers enrich nature). Furthermore, we surveyed ecological and economic effects of a farm-tailored advisory service.


A nature-friendly agriculture is of major importance for numerous plants and animals. Without the typical farmland species, farmland would be reduced to a mere agrarian desert. With a wildlife-friendly agriculture, a more vital and healthier environment is created, additionally offering exciting landscapes and an increased quality of life for people.

It is a novelty that farmers render additional ecological efforts via a food brand and are rewarded by market partners (such as the wholesaler Migros) with additional bonus payments. This requires that consumers recognise and understand the added value of biodiversity. Only then are they ready to pay a slightly higher and fair price to farmers who makeextra efforts for biodiversity.


Results from the project Scoring with “biodiversity” revealed that the credit point system is a suitable tool to measure biodiversity at the farm scale (Birrer et al. 2014, Zellweger-Fischer et al. 2016).

On IP-Suisse farms, the average the CPS score has markedly increased. It is noteworthy that many farms generate distinctly higher scores than the minimum required by the guideline and that the CPS score continue to rise even after the minimum CPS score is reached.

From 2010 to 2014, IP-Suisse farmers implemented numerous high-quality habitats for biodiversity (ecological compensation areas of high ecological quality). The proportion of such high-quality habitat rose by 65 % compared to the initial state (complete data sets of both years were available for 4022 farms). We expect that these additionally created habitats will contribute to the ecological improvement of a substantial part of the Swiss farmland.

Project management

Simon Birrer, Markus Jenny




Zellweger-Fischer, J., P. Althaus, S. Birrer, M. Jenny, L. Pfiffner & S. Stöckli (2016):
Relevé de la biodiversité sur les exploitations agricoles à l'aide d'un système à points.
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.
Birrer, S., J. Zellweger-Fischer, S. Stoeckli, F. Korner-Nievergelt, O. Balmer, M. Jenny & L. Pfiffner (2014):
Biodiversity at the farm scale: A novel credit point system.
Birrer, S., M. Jenny, F. Korner-Nievergelt, K. Meichtry-Stier, L. Pfiffner, J. Zellweger-Fischer & J.L. Zollinger (2013):
Ökologische Vorrangflächen fördern Kulturlandvögel
Jenny, M., J. Zellweger-Fischer, O. Balmer, S. Birrer & L. Pfiffner (2013):
The credit point system: an innovative approach to enhance biodiversity on farmland.