Work package 2

Linking biodiversity to ecosystem services on farmland

WP leader - Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (S), Riccardo Bommarco.

The main objective of WP2 is to quantify the individual contributions, and their trade-offs, to agricultural production, of multiple ecosystem services . WP2 will furthermore investigate how the deliveries of these services are dependent on the species diversity and composition of service-providing communities in major representative European cropping systems. Some ecosystem services, such as greenhouse gas emission control, may trade-off with yield, and services will be quantified in terms of proportional contributions to or reductions of crop yield. Importantly, we will quantify both the single and the combined contributions to crop yield of different services provided by organisms above- and below-ground. Ecosystem services are nearly always studied individually and are usually considered as additive, but possible interplay among services has not yet been systematically explored, not even for major crops.

Photo by David Kleijn: Bee on blossom fruit tree.
This information will assist the interpretation of studies examining promising ecosystem service mitigation options which are carried out simultaneously in WP3. The information will ultimately be used to calibrate the ecological and economic models that are being developed in WP4 and WP5. Objectives 1 and 2 will be addressed by means of large scale common field studies implemented in seven representative participating countries, where both above- and below-ground ecosystem services will be addressed. In these experiments we will directly estimate the contribution of ecosystem services to yield quantity and quality to disentangle effects of management history, external inputs, and biogeographical factors from the supporting ecosystem services provided by biodiversity on field and in the landscape. Objective 3 will be addressed in experimental units that are placed in the same fields as used for Objectives 1 and 2.

The data set compiled in WP2 will serve as a reference for understanding the general relationships between land use biodiversity, ecosystem services and agriculture in real European landscapes for LIBERATION. Major European crops that will be considered are: (wind-pollinated) wheat and maize, and (partially dependent on insect pollination) oil seed rape and sunflower.

  1. Quantifying the relationship between semi-natural habitats, on-farm management intensity and multiple ecosystem services delivered by biodiversity in representative farming systems across Europe
  2. Examining the importance of species identity and functional traits for below- and above-ground ecosystem service delivery
  3. Examining interactions and trade-offs between below- and above-ground ecosystem services in a selection of key European crops