PhD project by Vincent Oostvogels. It remains difficult to increase agriculture’s contribution to biodiversity conservation, among others due to potential trade-offs with other farm and sustainability objectives. In this project we study how farms can be enabled to increase their contribution to biodiversity conservation, while also performing on these other objectives
There is an essential role for agriculture in halting further biodiversity decline. However, for different reasons it remains difficult to increase agriculture’s contribution to biodiversity conservation. For instance, it is difficult to give direction to conservation efforts because the interactions between agriculture and biodiversity are complex and context-dependent, and because there are many different views on biodiversity conservation. Also, it is difficult to motivate and enable farmers to adjust their management practices for biodiversity, because it is unclear how this would affect other farm and sustainability objectives, and because farmers have limited (financial) possibilities to do so.
In this collaborative INRAE-WUR PhD project we study how farms can be enabled to increase their contribution to biodiversity conservation, while also performing on other farm and sustainability objectives such as food production, income generation, or the reduction of environmental impacts such as greenhouse gas emissions. We focus on dairy production in four regions, each with different production systems and landscape contexts: the plateau of Cézallier and the Fourme de Montbrison cheese production area in France and the Alblasserwaard and Westerkwartier in the Netherlands. For each region, we aim to understand
- how stakeholders conceptualize biodiversity and which conservation objectives they see;
- how current farm management aligns with these stakeholder views;
- how management adjustments for biodiversity would affect other farm and sustainability objectives; and
- how farms can be enabled (financially) to adjust their farm management for biodiversity.
To this end we will
- interview a variety of stakeholders from the landscape and food system of which the farms are part
- characterize current management of the farms,
- model farm-level synergies and trade-offs between biodiversity conservation and other farm and sustainability objectives, and
- explore governance arrangements that enable farms to adjust their management for biodiversity.
Together, this will generate insights that can contribute to the sustainable development of our food system.