Natuur en gezondheid

Land use, biodiversity and health care

Agriculture can have a major impact on biodiversity and the health of humans, animals and plants. A healthy environment and sufficient food, while preserving biodiversity and other natural capital, are ambitions requiring a strong commitment from society’s innovative capacity. It is an important issue in various farming systems and on various spatial scales, including in nature conservation on farmland and care farming, in rural development as well as in improving food security and adapting to climate change worldwide.

With respect to multifunctional land use and biodiversity, ‘Agrosystems Research’ focuses on changes in land use and its effects on biodiversity and agricultural production and management. Examples include studies on functional agro-biodiversity, nature conservation on farmland, use of natural grasslands, farm bird protection and the greening policy of the European Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). To preserve natural capital and for the provision of ecosystem services, it is particularly important to document the balance between ecology and economy using relevant data.

With respect to health and welfare, our research focuses on the role and function of a green environment. Key research is conducted in the field of care farming, and on the increasing emphasis on citizen initiatives and citizen involvement in the management of green spaces in an urban environment. We also study the possibilities of employing plants in monitoring potentially harmful emissions from industry (biomonitoring) and the role of landscaping to limit the spread of particulates (small particles suspended in the air) from stables and traffic.