English version: Biodiversity in Hellwegbörde

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Project information

In the “NATURA-2000” area of North Rhine-Westphalia, the biodiversity’s development shows a negative trend, especially in the lowland region and particularly for bird species in agricultural areas. The decreasing population of insects is one specific reason, as they are the birds’ main source of nourishment. In North Rhine-Westphalia, there are 28 EU-bird reserves. The area of the “Hellwegbörde” spans 50.000 hectares and is one of the biggest populations. Plenty of species, which are listed in the EU-Birds Directive’s Annex 1, live there -but their populations are decreasing. Most of the area is farmland. About 1.500 farms cultivate crops on about 95 % of the “Hellwegbörde’s” area. To achieve protection of the bird species, it is necessary to integrate measures for the promotion of biodiversity into agricultural cultivation practices. In the measurement plan for the bird reserve “Hellwegbörde”, the conservation goals and the need for action are described. Various measures are mentioned, but the promotion of insects in the agriculture is emphasized as the key action. Measures that were offered in the past have only been accepted by the farmers to a small extent. The farmers are looking for solutions, which help to achieve the conservation goals, but also are compatible with the needs of agricultural land use for the main crops such as winter grain, corn, sugar beet, potatoes and winter oilseed rape. Such an approach should, on one hand, support insects, avifauna and consequently biodiversity. On the other hand, the approach should fulfil the requirements for more acceptance for those measures by farmers.

Project goals

  • The aim of the project is to develop a strategy which considers the increase of biodiversity by integrating measures especially for insects into the farms operational requirements.
  • Farmers and environmentalists will cooperatively conceive this strategy and its measurements and test it on 90 farms. Furthermore, the ecological impact of all collective measurements in the priority areas will be monitored.
  • To overcome the farmers’ difficulty of accepting the measures, there will be a professional consultant with an agricultural background who informs farmers about the measures’ usefulness and works to convince them to participate. Any problems combining the measures with the cultivation will be solved together.
  • Entomological and ornithological monitoring will be undertaken before and during the implementation of these measures. It will be conducted in locations implementing the measures and on the fields without measures as a control. In this way, the success of the measures can be measured.

Grant recipient

Chamber of Agriculture North Rhine-Westphalia

Members of the operational group

  • Landwirtschaftskammer NRW (chamber of agriculture of the federal state North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany),
  • Arbeitsgemeinschaft Biologischer Umweltschutz e.V. in Soest (Association for biological environment protection of Soest, Germany)
  • Naturschutzfördergesellschaft für den Kreis Unna e.V. / Biologische Station Unna/Dortmund (Association for nature conservation of the district Unna, Germany / Station for environment protection of Unna/Dortmund, Germany).
  • Farm of Mr. Schulze Gabrechten in Bad-Sassendorf, Germany
  • Farm of Mr. Lemenkühler in Geseke, Germany
  • Agricultural district association of Soest, Germany
  • Agricultural district association of Unna, Germany
  • Lower nature conservation authority of Soest, Germany
  • Lower nature conservation authority of Unna, Germany

Associated partners:

  • Institute of landscape ecology, University of Münster, Germany
  • South Westphalia University of Applied Sciences, Germany

Period of funding

The project will run from February 2020 until December 2022.

Contact person at the Chamber of Agriculture North Rhine-Westphalia

Elisabeth Verhaag
Gartenstr. 11
50765 Cologne
Phone: +49 221 5340-333
E-mail: elisabeth.verhaag@lwk.nrw.de

Funding

The project is financed from the programme for the promotion of projects within the framework of the European Innovation Partnership "Productivity and Sustainability in Agriculture" (EIP Agrar), which is an integral part of the NRW Rural Area Programme 2014-2020 and is jointly funded by the EU and the state.

Ministerium für Umwelt, Landwirtschaft, Natur- und Verbraucherschutz des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen
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