Lantbrukare och rådgivare : tillsammans kan de främja biologisk mångfald.

University essay from SLU/Dept. of Ecology

Abstract: With the farming methods of the past century the agricultural landscape has changed. This has led to the fact that many habitats and species have been significantly reduced. Sweden is committed to the preservation of biodiversity through various conventions and laws. In the EU's Common Agricultural Policy there are currently agro-environmental schemes, which were created as an instrument for reducing the negative impacts of agriculture on nature and environment. Within this system any farmer who perform environmental measures are financially compensated for this. This system has restrained a more negative trend for many species but a considerable positive effect has not really been demonstrated, especially not for endangered species.This paper considers farmers’ and advisers’ attitudes to the task of improving and pre-serving farmland biodiversity. The report aims to investigate what future counselling and agro-environmental schemes need to take into account in order to increase the proportion of farmers who choose to take action for biodiversity. The data comprises previously con-ducted interviews with farmers and crop advisors, and surveys of farmers. The interviews were analyzed qualitatively and the questionnaires quantitatively. The data show that farmers find nature conservation important. There is a greater willingness to perform ac-tions when the farmers feel that it gives a value back. This value does not need to be finan-cial but can also consist of other kinds of added value. Measurements that favor production or are consistent with an image of what a well-managed farm should look like are more popular with the farmers. However, the design of agro-environmental schemes does not always correspond to the farmers' views on what the job of a skilled farmer is. This, to-gether with complicated rules or unclear objectives of the schemes can be barriers to envi-ronmental commitments. Too little knowledge of how practical measures can be carried out is another obstacle. Farmers in the study say they need more knowledge and infor-mation in order to act. The interviewed advisors find it difficult to give advice on biodiver-sity in their professional role as an adviser with focus on production, and in many cases the advisers lack the knowledge of how actual measures for nature conservation can be per-formed. There is a demand for clear information about the purpose and benefits of nature conservation measures, and a need for strategies for farmers and advisors on how actions that benefit biodiversity can be carried out and interact with other aspects of farming. The agro-environmental schemes need to be designed in a way that makes farmers interested in taking action for biodiversity. In the longer term the work to increase biodiversity also has to focus on changing the image of farmers and advisors against a more accepting view of nature conservation measures as a legitimate farming activity. Access for farmers to more counselling on nature conservation measures is needed.

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