Agricultural land accounts for almost half of the EU area. While former traditional agricultural practices created biodiverse habitats, current farming systems induce loss of biodiversity. Supporting the European Commission`s ambition of enhancing biodiversity and its capacity to deliver ecosystem services, the BioMonitor4CAP project combines traditional and new methods and technologies to develop, validate, and demonstrate holistic approaches for systematic and near continuous monitoring of in situ biodiversity in agricultural areas. With this novel approach the project aims to provide recommendations for adapted management practices to strengthen biodiversity on farms as well as to support the development of the EU biodiversity policies.
For this purpose the project performs research and demonstrates developed biomonitoring approaches at multiple sites in Europe and Peru representing agricultural land, grassland, and agroforestry farming systems.
In total the project manages 22 sites varying in their purpose:
- Sites in Bulgaria, Finland, Germany, Great Britain, and Portugal are selected for high-intensity research activities starting in 2023,
- Sites in Austria, Finland, Germany, Peru, Portugal, and Poland are selected for research activities starting 2024 ensuring geographical coverage and/or allow assessment of specific species and habitats,
- Sites in Austria, Germany, and the Netherlands, are selected for demonstration and training activities starting in 2025.
All Major research sites visited in 2023:
The UNESCO Spreewald Biosphere Reserve in Germany was the first major research site visited this year. On a sunny but cold and snowy day in February, Martina Clausen and Nils Borchard from DLG met Nico Heitepriem from the Landesamt für Umwelt Brandenburg (LfU) to learn more about the local farming systems and environmental monitoring schemes on site. In June we set up traps and cameras at one of the visited sites.
In March the DLG team together with Ameli Kirse from the ZFMK Bonn visited local project partners Nicky Petkov (Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds) and Dragan Chobanov (Bulgarian Academy of Sciences) in Bulgaria. The major goal of this field trip was to visit and select suitable research sites and to discuss how to manage field work and collaborative research activities on site.
In April the local project partners Daniela Fonseca, Ricardo Chagas, and Cesare Neto from Food4Sustainability organized a two-day event bringing together representatives of each Portuguese research site as well as representatives from the DLG and the ZFMK. Test sites within the Montado cork oak forest system of the Campanhia das Lezirias farm were visited and selected for monitoring activities.
At the end of May, Martina Clausen (DLG) and Ameli Kirse (ZFMK) met the project partners David Noble and Adham Ashton-Butt from the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) as well as David Brown our local partner on site from the NationalTrust. Together they visited 4 field sites representing coastal pastures grazed by sheep and cows that are surrounded by hedges. As farmland-associated bird species are of high interest in this region acoustic monitoring systems will be tested and validated here.
In June Martina Clausen (DLG), Nils Borchard (DLG),and Ameli Kirse (ZFMK) visited the last of BioMonitor4CAP`s major research sites in Finland. Together with project partners from the University of Helsinki and linked partners of the Finish Natural Resources Institute (LUKE) they visited the Finish field sites. At one of these field sites multiple trap types and acoustic devices were installed as well as soil samples were taked for eDNA analyses.
Martina Clausen, Stephanie Timm and Nils Borchard
DLG Research and Innovation
Photos: Biomonitor4CAP project team