Study

How effective are European agri-environment schemes in conserving and promoting biodiversity?

  • Published source details Kleijn D. & Sutherland W.J. (2003) How effective are European agri-environment schemes in conserving and promoting biodiversity?. Journal of Applied Ecology, 40, 947-969.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Introduce agri-environment schemes to benefit wild bees

Action Link
Bee Conservation

Pay farmers to cover the costs of bird conservation measures

Action Link
Bird Conservation

Pay farmers to cover the cost of conservation measures (as in agri-environment schemes)

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Introduce agri-environment schemes to benefit wild bees

    Kleijn & Sutherland (2003) reviewed studies of the effectiveness of European agri-environment schemes in published and unpublished literature. Three out of the 62 studies included bees. Two studies (Kleijn et al. 2001, reported above, and Allen et al. 2001) found more bees (more species of bee in the case of Kleijn et al. 2001) on agri-environment fields compared to control fields under certain schemes. The third study (Kleijn et al. 1999) is not reported to have found a difference in bee abundance or species richness between seven agri-environment fields and seven control fields.

  2. Pay farmers to cover the costs of bird conservation measures

    A 2003 review of 29 studies from six European countries (Kleijn & Sutherland 2003) found that agri-environment schemes had no consistent effect on bird species. While there were individual successes, such as the 83% increase in cirl bunting between 1992 and 1998 on land within the Countryside Stewardship Scheme compared with the 2% increase on adjacent land not in the scheme, only 13/29 studies found agri-environment schemes increased bird species richness or abundance. Two studies reported negative effects and nine reported both positive and negative effects. Of the 19 studies that involved statistical tests, only four found positive effects, 2 of 19 reported negative effects and 9 of 19 reported both positive and negative effects.

  3. Pay farmers to cover the cost of conservation measures (as in agri-environment schemes)

    A 2003 review of 62 studies from six European countries (Kleijn & Sutherland 2003) found that, overall, 54% of the species groups examined showed an increase in species richness or abundance under agri-environment schemes. Agri-environment schemes had no consistent effect on bird species. While there were individual successes, such as the 83% increase in cirl bunting Emberiza cirlus between 1992 and 1998 on land within the Countryside Stewardship Scheme compared with the 2% increase on adjacent land not in the scheme (Peach et al. 2001), only 13 out of 29 studies found agri-environment schemes increased bird species richness or abundance. Two studies reported negative effects and nine reported both positive and negative effects. Of the 19 studies which involved statistical tests, only four found positive effects, two reported negative effects and nine reported both positive and negative effects on species richness or abundance of birds. Half of the studies on plants that included statistical analyses (seven out of 14) found no effect, six studies found increased species richness/abundance and two found decreases. For insects and spiders (Araneae), 11 out of 17 studies that included statistical analyses found increases in species richness/abundance, none found decreases and three showed increases and decreases. Three out of the 62 studies included bees (Apidae). Two studies (Allen et al. 2001, Kleijn et al. 2001) found more bees (more species of bee in the case of Kleijn et al. 2001) on agri-environment fields compared to control fields under certain schemes. The third study (Kleijn et al. 1999) reported not to have found a difference in bee abundance or species richness between seven agri-environment fields and seven control fields.

    Additional references:

    Kleijn D., Boekhoff M., Ottburg F., Gleichman M. & Berendse F. (1999) De effectiviteit van agrarisch natuurbeheer. Landschap, 16, 227-235.

    Allen D.S., Gundrey A.L. & Gardner S.M. (2001) Bumblebees: Technical appendix to ecological evaluation of Arable Stewardship Pilot Scheme 1998 2000. ADAS, Wolverhampton, UK.

    Kleijn D., Berendse F., Smit R. & Gilissen N. (2001) Agri-environment schemes do not effectively protect biodiversity in Dutch agricultural landscapes. Nature, 413, 723-725.

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