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LIBERATION:
LInking farmland Biodiversity to Ecosystem seRvices for effective ecological intensification.

The next few decades will witness a rapidly increasing demand for agricultural products. This growing demand needs to be met largely through intensification (produce more from the same land surface) because there is little scope for an increase in agricultural area. Ecological intensification has been proposed as a promising solution.

Ecological intensification is the optimization of all provisioning, regulating and supporting ecosystem services in the agricultural production process. LIBERATION aims to provide the evidence base for ecological intensification and demonstrate the concept in seven representative agricultural landscape types in Europe. Using existing datasets from past and on-going European-scale studies we will first identify general relationships between the configuration of semi-natural habitats, on-farm management and biodiversity in a range of European landscapes and farming systems. Using a modelling approach we will link biodiversity to ecosystem services, by determining relationships between biodiversity, the delivery of multiple ecosystem services and agronomic yield.

A novel aspect is that LIBERATION considers above- and below-ground ecosystem services simultaneously and analyses synergies and trade-offs between different ecosystem services. Using this modelling approach we will analyse which on-farm management practices and spatial configuration of semi-natural habitats optimizes yield and which optimizes farm income.

We will synthesize management and policy recommendations. We will raise awareness and promote uptake of ecological intensification by disseminating project results to the widest possible range of stakeholders, amongst others by means of demonstration projects. This way we hope to liberate the forces of nature to the benefit of agricultural production.


 The LIBERATION project in a nutshell: see this animated video