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Biodiversity: Monitoring Bees and Farmland Ecosystems in Europe Proposed

Nov 06, 2015 02:44 PM EST
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Keeping in mind that it's important to maintain biodiversity -- or a natural variety of plants, microbes, animals and other living things in farmland and any other ecosytem -- two new studies looked at ways to monitor Europe's farmland biodiversity.

In preparation for doing the studies, researchers asked stakeholders what factors indicated some part of biodiversity and had the best "value for money" for them. Of these, high-rankers were habitat, plant species and farm management. In terms of providing important parts of the services in an ecosystem, wild bees, earthworms and spiders were next in the ranking, according to a release.

Next, the scientists worked out cost estimates for monitoring biodiversity in nine ways. The team says that doing this would take only a small part of the budget for the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), and thus it is worth doing, said the release.

While all of this might sound a bit wonky and budgetary, it's also a definite part of a country's keeping track of its biodiversity so that pollinators and other vital contributors to an ecosystem can live, as the study's findings noted. They showed a framework that illustrates how individual countries can begin farmland biodiversity monitoring. The research was published recently in the Journal of Applied Ecology and the Journal of Environmental Management.

"Despite scientific proof that monitoring increases the (cost) efficiency of policy measures, monitoring rarely gets included in policy program budgets. We identified that the cost are not as high as feared. To further facilitate implementation, the study provides stepping stones to build a European monitoring scheme, offering a choice in indicators and using regions as a unit of trend analysis," explained Dr. Ilse Geijzendorffer, paper lead author for the piece in the Journal of Applied Ecology, in the release.

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