Conservation of farmland
This work aims to advance understanding on what practical solutions work in sustaining and enhancing diversity of several taxa of species through a highly interdisciplinary and international research on biodiversity conservation in agricultural environments.

For this, we bridge ecological knowledge to agronomic realities of farming, farmers’ acceptance of managing for nature, and existing economic and policy frameworks. The key themes, on which we have been working, are:

  • Distribution and abundance of farmland birds in relation to land use and agri-environmental management in Finland, Baltic countries and Russian Federation;
  • Effectiveness of Finnish agri-environmental programme for biodiversity and landscape
  • Novel approaches to conservation: fallowing for biodiversity, payments to farmers by biodiversity results
  • Making farmers matter in conservation on farmland

Current projects:

Birds@ Farmland: Developing tools to support farmland bird conservation in the EU – Irina Herzon
New initiative of the European Commission Birds@ Farmland is lunched this year to support Member States to design and put in place effective measures to conserve birds on farmland. Many of the bird populations in agricultural landscapes have declined across Europe. In Finland, they have almost halved since the 1980s. Traditionally common and abundant bird species, such as swallows, have been classified as endangered. Conservation of farmland birds is a Birds Directive obligation that is essential to the success of the EU Green Deal as well we the Biodiversity and Farm to Fork Strategies. The initiative will bring together agricultural and environmental authorities, farmer organisations, NGOs and experts through workshops and interviews at national and EU levels in the co-creation or improvement of conservation schemes. The first national workshop will be held on 27.4.

Birds@ Farmland: Maatalousympäristön lintujen suojelun vahvistaminen EU:ssa
Euroopan komission rahoittamassa Birds@ Farmland aloitteessa vahvistetaan maatalousympäristön lintujen suojelun toimenpiteitä kymmenessä Euroopan Unionin jäsenmaassa. Suomessa maatalousympäristön lintulajien runsaus on lähes puolittunut 1980-luvun alusta. Perinteisesti tavallisia ja runsaita lajeja, kuten pääskyt, on jo todettu Suomessa uhanalaisiksi. Maatalousympäristön lintujen suojelu on lintudirektiivin velvoite, joka on välttämätön Euroopan vihreän kehityksen, Biodiversiteettistrategian ja Pellolta pöytään -strategian onnistumisiin. Aloite kokoaa yhteen maataloustuottajaorganisaatioita, kansalaisjärjestöjä, asiantuntijoita sekä maatalous- ja ympäristöviranomaisia niin kansallisella kuin kansainvälisillä tasoilla. Tavoitteena on pitkäaikainen yhteistyö luonnontilan parantamisessa. Huhtikuussa järjestetään ensimmäisen kansallisen työpajan 27.4.

Pollinator-Friendly farms (in collaboration with Baltic Sea Action Group) - Traci Birge.
The project aims to provide farmers with the information they need to improve conditions for pollinators on their farms. It is funded by Maj and Tor Nessling Foundation.

Role of cattle grazing in maintaining biodiversity in Finland – Irina Herzon
The aim is to gain an in-depth understanding of the impacts of varying livestock grazing regimes on farmland birds in Finland through a quasi-experimental field-based study design.

Developing tools to support farmland bird conservation in the EU – Irina Herzon
The aim is to provide concrete support to Member States to design and put in place effective measures to conserve farmland birds

Recent media response:
YLE (in Finnish)
Studentbladet (in Swedish)
ScienceDaily (in English)
Maj and Tor Nessling foundation (in Finnish)

People working in Conservation of farmland:
Irina (Iryna) Herzon, Docent, University lecturer
Traci Birge, PostDoc