In the countryside there are still many ways to unite agriculture, nature and landscape. Farming for Nature represents an answer to the question how to do this. Basic principle is that farmers receive part of their income from managing nature and landscape.
In the concept Farming for Nature new ways of farming are described. Important features are that the farmer remains an independent entrepreneur and that ‘producing' nature and landscape substantially contributes to the income of the farmer and the continuity of his business. Farming is the method to ‘produce' nature by means of self-sufficiency in fodder and manure.
Farming for nature is a concept. Of course it will become really interesting when put into practice. Currently there are two operational experiments with Farming for Nature. In the Polder van Biesland, a green enclave in the middle of the strongly urbanized areas between Delft, The Hague and Pijnacker-Nootdorp. And on the country estate Twickel, in Delden in the Province of Overijssel.
The development of the farms is followed by monitoring ecology, farm and society. In both projects researchers of Alterra work together intensively with farmers, civil servants, citizens and other experts in data collection, analysis and adaptation of the management practices.
In Biesland the project has yielded great citizen involvement for the farm, leading to extra activities and income. The ecological results are promising: meadow birds seem to respond well to the diversity in the grasslands and the higher water table. Results are reported yearly. A synthesis report will be written in 2013 to support evaluation of the project by the funding national and regional authorities.