Small-Scale Agricultural Landscapes Provide Ecological Services

Researchers at the University of Würzburg published a study in Ecology Letters that illustrates the value of breaking up agricultural landscapes into small habitats. When cropland is broken up into small-scale pieces alternated with non-crop habitat, biodiversity, pollination, and pest control are all improved. The study of 1,515 agricultural landscapes in Europe showed more beneficial insects and spiders with small-scale land use, as well as increased pollination and natural pest control. “In order to reduce pests and promote biodiversity, increasing the density of seminatural habitat elements can be an ideal solution for farms. You don’t have to remove much land from cultivation to reach a significant effect,” says study leader Dr. Emily A. Martin.