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Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4812;

Evaluating On-Farm Biodiversity: A Comparison of Assessment Methods

Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), CH-5070 Frick, Switzerland
Institute of Organic Agriculture, University of Bonn, D-53115 Bonn, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 27 November 2018 / Revised: 10 December 2018 / Accepted: 13 December 2018 / Published: 17 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability, Biodiversity, and Conservation)
PDF [640 KB, uploaded 19 December 2018]


Strategies to stop the loss of biodiversity in agriculture areas will be more successful if farmers have the means to understand changes in biodiversity on their farms and to assess the effectiveness of biodiversity promoting measures. There are several methods to assess on-farm biodiversity but it may be difficult to select the most appropriate method for a farmer’s individual circumstances. This study aims to evaluate the usability and usefulness of four biodiversity assessment methods that are available to farmers in Switzerland. All four methods were applied to five case study farms, which were ranked according to the results. None of the methods were able to provide an exact statement on the current biodiversity status of the farms, but each method could provide an indication, or approximation, of one or more aspects of biodiversity. However, the results also showed that it is possible to generate different statements on the state of biodiversity on the same farms by using different biodiversity assessment methods. All methods showed strengths and weaknesses so, when choosing a method, the purpose of the biodiversity assessment should be kept in the foreground and the limitations of the chosen methods should be considered when interpreting the outcomes. View Full-Text
Keywords: biodiversity assessment methods; agriculture; case study; on-farm evaluation biodiversity assessment methods; agriculture; case study; on-farm evaluation

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Gabel, V.; Home, R.; Stöckli, S.; Meier, M.; Stolze, M.; Köpke, U. Evaluating On-Farm Biodiversity: A Comparison of Assessment Methods. Sustainability 2018, 10, 4812.

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