Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 409218
Title Ecological impacts of arable intensification in Europe
Author(s) Stoate, C.; Boatman, N.D.; Borralho, R.J.; Rio Carvalho, C.; Snoo, G.R. de; Eden, P.
Source Journal of Environmental Management 63 (2001)4. - ISSN 0301-4797 - p. 337 - 365.
Department(s) Nature Conservation and Plant Ecology
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2001
Keyword(s) buntings miliaria-calandra - skylarks alauda-arvensis - agricultural intensification - population-dynamics - habitat selection - southern england - cropping systems - water erosion - beneficial arthropods - environmental-impact
Abstract Although arable landscapes have a long history, environmental problems have accelerated in recent decades. The effects of these changes are usually externalised, being greater for society as a whole than for the farms on which they operate, and incentives to correct them are therefore largely lacking. Arable landscapes are valued by society beyond the farming community, but increased mechanisation and farm size, simplification of crop rotations, and loss of non-crop features, have led to a reduction in landscape diversity. Low intensity arable systems have evolved a characteristic and diverse fauna and flora, but development of high input, simplified arable systems has been associated with a decline in biodiversity. Arable intensification has resulted in loss of non-crop habitats and simplification of plant and animal communities within crops, with consequent disruption to food chains and declines in many farmland species. Abandonment of arable management has also led to the replacement of such wildlife with more common and widespread species. Soils have deteriorated as a result of erosion, compaction, loss of organic matter and contamination with pesticides, and in some areas, heavy metals. Impacts on water are closely related to those on soils as nutrient and pesticide pollution of water results from surface runoff and subsurface flow, often associated with soil particles, which themselves have economic and ecological impacts. Nitrates and some pesticides also enter groundwater following leaching from arable land. Greatest impacts are associated with simplified, high input arable systems. Intensification of arable farming has been associated with pollution of air by pesticides, NO2and CO2, while the loss of soil organic matter has reduced the system’s capacity for carbon sequestration. International trade contributes to global climate change through long distance transport of arable inputs and products. The EU Rural Development Regulation (1257/99) provides an opportunity to implement measures for alleviating ecological impacts of arable management through a combination of cross-compliance and agri-environment schemes. To alleviate the problems described in this paper, such measures should take account of opportunities for public/private partnerships and should integrate social, cultural, economic and ecological objectives for multifunctional land use.
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