Bunge considers the issue of agricultural development with the preservation of natural balance to be very important. Therefore, as a socially responsible company, we have initiated the “Land is a balance” programme for farmers to support all initiatives aimed at preserving biodiversity in rural areas.
Biodiversity, or biological diversity, is of significant importance in human life. It provides the benefits we derive from the environment, such as food; it also influences air quality maintenance, the circulation of elements, or climate regulation. Therefore, maintaining this diversity is so important and even necessary to maintain the proper functioning of all ecosystems on Earth.
Biodiversity is not only important in natural or semi-natural areas but also areas transformed by humans. At the same time, because agricultural land occupies a sizeable part of the Earth’s surface, biodiversity conservation in agricultural landscapes plays an important role in global conservation strategies. Agriculture can contribute to biodiversity conservation, so educating and supporting farmers in their biodiversity development efforts is important.
The 2019 programme includes a collaboration with Weronika Banaszak-Cibicka, PhD from the Institute of Zoology at Poznań University of Life Sciences. As part of the pilot project, we developed educational materials “BIO diversity and agriculture” together with the expert.
The “Land is a balance” programme was additionally presented during the 6th edition of the European Congress of Agribusiness Managers, where Weronika Banaszak-Cibicka, PhD, gave a presentation titled “Crops are part of the environment. Why should we support biodiversity in agricultural areas?”Over 300 guests of the Congress also received our educational materials on biodiversity protection in rural areas.
“Farmers can protect biodiversity on their farms because it makes agricultural production more sustainable and profitable. At the same time, biodiversity conservation is made more effective through cooperation between farmers to achieve common goals. This is because many wildlife species require large areas to support all of their life cycle needs and because important habitat areas such as rivers, streams, and ecological corridors often cross many farms. Therefore, combining individual actions with broader conservation plans improves effectiveness.”
Weronika Banaszak-Cibicka, PhD
Institute of Zoology
University of Life Sciences in Poznań
Flower strips in agriculture
In the next edition of the programme, we focused on the practical aspects of the project, specifically the establishment of flower strips that increase crop diversity and thus promote biodiversity in agricultural areas.
The conservation of species and ecosystems generally takes place over areas much larger than a single farm, so efforts to conserve diversity should address the farm or crop itself and the entire landscape. Farmers can take several measures to increase crop diversity, such as using multiple species and varieties of crops, using intercropping, crop rotation or setting fields aside; introducing flower strips or reducing field size.
Such measures mean that the risk of massive pathogen and pest outbreaks is reduced, productivity is stabilised, and the longevity of the entire system is increased. It also increases the effectiveness of other agrotechnical measures, e.g., weed control, which in turn leads to a reduction in production costs.
The 2020 edition of “Land is a balance” focuses on practical solutions that help protect biodiversity on agricultural land.
In order to shed light on the subject, we have put together a guide that clearly and simply shows how to prepare a flower strip in the field. For the project, we invited experts from the Flower Meadows (https://www.lakikwietne.pl), with whom we developed the brochure “How to prepare a flower strip”. The guide was written by Marcin Grabowski, PhD and was reviewed by Anna Kujawa, PhD, Krzysztof Kujawa, Professor at IŚRiL PAN, Institute of Agricultural and Forest Environment, and Piotr Szulc, Professor at UPP, Poznań University of Life Sciences.
We encourage you to read the material. Download the guide HERE.
Flower strips are an easy-to-use agricultural practice that enhances natural biological control mechanisms for crop pests, increases yields through pollinating insects, and improves soil properties and water quality. They also provide a range of other ecosystem services from all four main groups: provisioning, regulating, supporting and cultural/social, and are an important part of the Earth’s green infrastructure or life support system.
You can also find out why it is good to start flower strips on fields in the article on topagrar.pl.
Flower strips significantly increase the overall biodiversity, i.e., they strengthen the “insurance policy” mentioned above and are part of the “ecological intensification” of agriculture. What is this intensification about? It is about increasing crop species’ population density, providing important ecosystem services (functions), mainly from two functional groups: pollinating insects and arthropods (spiders and insects), which are enemies of crop pests – says Krzysztof Kujawa, PhD.