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Friday, 31 August 2012

Land sparing - land sharing debate at ECCB 2012

Yesterday we held the symposia entitled 'Land sharing versus land sparing - a European perspective' organised by András Báldi and me.

The symposia was opened by Ben Phalan from Cambridge who was followed by five other speakers. The symposia was finished by a discussion between the speakers and the audience. This was led by William Sutherland.

The echoes suggest that the debate was very pleasant and constructive.

What is the right choice for biodiversity and agricultural production? Land sparing, where agricultural areas are intensively used for production while the nearby species rich areas are protected, or land sharing where farming is done in larger areas in an environmental friendly way?

This debate highlighted many dimmensions of these questions: scale matters, context matters, and the results may not be transferred from one region to another. Europe is a diverse place where some areas are still used in an environmental friendly way, while others are intensively farmed. Areas with low intensity farming are typically rich in biodiversity and have high nature value. Intensifying agricultural production would likely result in species and population loss in these areas.

A good summary of the presentations is given by Joern Fischer here

(This is how I perceived this symposia. If this text is skewed - it is because my culture and Eastern European origin. Balancing comments are welcome).

Tibor Hartel

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