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Ecological-economic modelling to compare the impact of organic and conventional farming on endangered grassland bird and butterfly species
- Gerling, Charlotte, Sturm, Astrid, Wätzold, Frank
- Agricultural systems 2019 v.173 pp. 424-434
- agri-environmental policy, biodiversity, biodiversity conservation, birds, butterflies, case studies, conventional farming, endangered species, farmers, farmers' attitudes, land use, meadows, models, opportunity costs, organic production, Germany
- We applied an ecological-economic modelling procedure to analyse the impact of organic versus conventional management of meadows on endangered bird and butterfly species in Saxony, Germany. Applying the modelling procedure enables us to focus on two aspects that hitherto have been neglected in analysing the impact of organic farming on biodiversity. (1) Possible differences in the timing of land use between organic and conventional farming, and (2) differences in the uptake of agri-environment schemes (AES) by organic and conventional farmers. We found that for the species considered the difference in the impact of conventional and organic farming is minor, because in our case study region the timing of land use on most areas with organic farming is very similar to the timing on areas with conventional farming. We also found that in comparison with conventional farmers, organic farmers generally face lower opportunity costs when implementing AES measures. Additionally, organic farmers are offered lower payments for such measures. These factors influence organic farmers' decisions to take part in AES, which in turn has an important impact on biodiversity conservation. In order to better conserve species it may be necessary to adapt the payment structure of AES with respect to organic farming.