Flower Strips as Ecological Compensation Areas for Pest Management
There are many practices designed to make agriculture more sustainable, reduce agrochemical use, and enhance biodiversity in agricultural ecosystems. Organic farming, crop rotation, small-scale fields, and maintenance of natural areas between agroecosystems are some examples. The latter, sometimes referred to as ecological compensation areas, consists of separate or interconnected fields that form buffer zones. Ecological compensation zones act as refuge areas and/or dispersal centers and offer many species adequate niches, compensating, at least partly, for the negative effects of agriculture.
A significant decrease in the use of fertilizers and pesticides occurred as a result of ecological compensation areas in Europe. For example, under integrated production or organic farming systems in Switzerland, farmers have to set aside at least 7% of their farmland as ecological compensation areas (e.g., meadows, hedgerows, traditional orchards, and wild flower strips).
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