Various reports point to an unsatisfactory state of biodiversity and impoverishment of habitats. However, in 2017 all biodiversity goals intended by the swiss agricultural policy 2014 – 2017 were achieved. But the environmental objectives for target and lead species in agriculture can only be achieved if the proportion of habitats with quality is tripled.
The environmental objectives for target and lead species in agriculture are not achieved in the Canton of Zurich either. For this reason, the canton and AGRIDEA test a new approach on 25 farms that focuses on improving the quality of habitats rather than on the management requirements.
Location of the schemeone region
Canton of Zurich
Duration of the schemeSince: 2020
Objective(s) of the scheme / project
- Achieve biodiversity goals effectively
- Promote biodiversity on a site-specific basis and make optimum use of the biological potential of the farms
- Efficient use of public funds
- Increase farmers' motivation thanks to more personal responsibility
Which habitats or species are in the focus of the scheme / project?
- Areas of Promotion of Biodiversity (APB)
For example extensively used meadows and pastures, wild flower strips, orchards, hedges, dry stone walls
This project focuses on meadows and pastures and natural habitats in farmland, as the deficits are greatest here.
- species (e.g. birds, insect, plant species)
Which indicators are used?
- Physical structures (e.g. dead wood, presence of brushwood, hollow trees, tall grass)
The selection of suitable indicators and the preparation of the corresponding tools for farmers and advisors are in progress and will be completed during the first year of the project.
In discussion are the following indicators
- Open floor
- Occurrence or not Occurrence of individual plant species
- Coverage rates of individual plant species
- Colour variety
- Indicator plant species of the quality II level list
- Plant species of dry meadowsno gilding pointers (fern, others)
Design of scheme / project
- Pure Result Based Payments
The project is more goal-oriented than results-oriented. Contributions to farmers are paid when they focus their management on achieving the goals. Different indicators (e.g. plant species, structures) show if farmers are on the right way. As in the result-oriented approach, farmers are free to choose what to do, how to do and when to do but they get some recommendations from advisers if requiered. Contributions to farmers are paid as soon as the predefined indicators are reached.
The following definition shows how we define goal-orientaded: Goals are in the future, you want to achieve them, the effort is directed towards them. In most cases the goal is reached at a later date than a result.
By which fund(s) is the scheme / project implemented?
About 80% of the costs are paid by the Swiss Federal Office of Agriculture, the rest by the canton of Zurich
How are the incentives (payment levels) calculated?
- Based on the costs of management actions
Contributions are only awarded to areas which, in accordance with the objectives, meet the criteria for the "right" location, the "right" habitat type and the "right" quality of the areas. The compensation system is based on points. One point corresponds to CHF 40 (first approximation). This amount is based on the consideration that areas in the "right" quality (QI and QII) and in the "right" location (connectivity) are compensated with approx. CHF 40.-/are under the current system. The points are awarded on the basis of the location of the area, the habitat and the existing quality. The more suitable the location and the higher the quality of an area, the more points are achieved and the higher the financial contribution of the area. Per area of "correct" habitat type 0.25-1.25 points are awarded
In addition farmers are compensated for the time spent on project participation with an annual basic contribution of CHF 500. This includes a financial incentive and the time spent on planning and documentation. The self-assessment of areas and attendance at information and training events are also compensated. Financial support should also be possible for particularly complex measures.
Is there a top up in case of reaching the goals?
How many hectares are in the scheme (year 2020)?
- Less than 100
How many farmers take part in the scheme?
- Less than 50
How are participating farmers supervised/advised?
- Information meetings/workshops (obligatory)
The farmers receive two visits at the beginning oft the project to discuss goals and management options.
If uncertainties or questions arise, farmers have the opportunity to contact the advisor at any time. During the course of the project, annual further training courses and working groups are organised. They are a good opportunity to clarify questions and to benefit from the experience of others.
Are there any evaluation results (2020)?
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