Five regions in Western Europe (Scotland, England, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany) run this project on the restoration of biodiversity on farmland. Participating organizations are the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, Birdlife International and the Workgroup on Endangered Species at Georg-August-University Göttingen. Each region established four demonstration sites: two of these will be improved by landscape elements developed to increase biodiversity, e.g. flower blocks or beetle banks. Two other sites will not be changed. On these sites, biodiversity will be sampled for four years with a focus on farmland birds and the grey partridge as the main target species. This species has lost 94% of its populations across Europe since the 1980ies, suffering especially from homogenization of landscapes and agricultural intensification. The main aim of the study is to demonstrate that successful restoration of farmland biodiversity can be possible. An indicator of success would be an increase in the partridge population (number of breeding birds) by 30%.
The project will inform about the amount of enhanced areas necessary to change current decreasing trends in populations of farmland species. We will also test different landscape elements for their efficiency in improving habitats. We will also detect the problems with existing conservation measures by a socio-economic study on the acceptance of agri-environment schemes. An important part of the project is communication: between participating regions, of the public, and convincing both: local stakeholders and national and EU-wide decision makers.
The 4.8 Mio Euro project is funded by EU; the German part is co-funded by Deutsche Wildtier-Stiftung, Deutscher Jagdverband and Manfred-Hermsen-Stiftung.
Project team leader at Georg-August University:
Dr Eckhard Gottschalk