Area reserved for promoting biodiversity
Extensively farmed areas like meadows and pastures, bedding meadows, coppices and fallow strips sown with wild flowers qualify as area reserved for promoting biodiversity. Areas reserved for promoting biodiversity offer animals and plants niches for survival in agricultural areas. They contribute to the conservation of species diversity in that they enable threatened species to spread again. They also increase landscape diversity and conserve elements of the historic cultural landscape.
Farmers can claim direct payments for these areas if they account for at least 7% of the agriculturally productive area. They can also claim additional quality-based contributions for areas reserved for promoting biodiversity, on which certain indicator plants grow. Further measures for the promotion of biodiversity in agricultural area include habitat connectivity projects.
While the area reserved for promoting biodiversity (up to 2012: ecological compensation areas) barely increased in size between 2000 and 2010, they have been growing at a satisfactory rate since 2011. In 2017, they accounted for an average of 15,8% (6,3% for quality II) of the total agriculturally productive area (not including summer grazing regions).
However, certain regions show fairly large deficiencies, especially in the buffer strips around protected natural zones. Furthermore, most of the areas reserved for promoting biodiversity do not yet have the ecological quality required or have not yet been established at the appropriate place. There are also deficiencies in the connectivity of the areas. The proportion of areas reserved for promoting biodiversity with quality level II and interconnected areas reserved for promoting biodiversity continues to grow but still remains low. They make up only around 1% of the lands where crop rotation is practised. To enable the re-establishment of threatened species and prevent the loss of species, efforts must be continued and additional measures implemented.
The data from the agricultural operations are surveyed jointly by the Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG) and the Federal Statistical Office (FSO). The data on the areas reserved for promoting biodiversity (former biodiversity compensation areas in accordance with the new Agriculture Policy for 2014-2017) are recorded in the process. The survey is based on standardised forms, which must be completed by farmers. Their responses, which relate to the deadline in early May, are checked by the federal authorities and cantons and managed in the FOAG’s central database.
|Targeted trend||Initial value||Final value||Variation in %||Observed trend||Assessment|
|Growth||Average 2000-2002||Average 2015-2017||45.64%||Growth||positive|