Bending the curve of biodiversity loss: interdisciplinary research to enhance biodiversity conservation in agroecosystems

V.J. Oostvogels*, Bertrand Dumont, I.J.M. de Boer, R. Ripoll Bosch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingAbstract


There is an urgent need to bend the curve of global biodiversity loss, and in doing so there is an important role for agriculture. However, it often remains difficult to integrate effective biodiversity conservation in agricultural
production systems. In the process of developing a PhD proposal on this topic, we conducted a literature search to explore the challenges that underpin this difficultly. Three challenges emerged in particular. First, people have many
different views on biodiversity conservation. However, this multiplicity of (sometimes contrasting) views is often not made explicit. This hinders a dialogue about the desired direction of biodiversity conservation. Second, the links
between agriculture and biodiversity are complex and context- dependent, and the heterogeneity in farming systems adds to this complexity. Nevertheless, conservation recommendations to farmers are often rather generic, which leads
to suboptimal outcomes. Third, biodiversity conservation is likely to have implications for other sustainability dimensions of agriculture, such as greenhouse gas emissions, profitability, or labour requirements, resulting in
synergies or trade-offs. These implications are generally not quantified, which hinders adoption by farmers, awareness from actors and, ultimately, the development of integral sustainability strategies that consider biodiversity
conservation along with other sustainability objectives. Given these challenges, effective integration of biodiversity conservation in farming systems will require interdisciplinary, context-specific, systems approach research. We specifically propose to integrate social and bio-economic research methods, and we are doing so in our PhD project. This project, encompassing four contrasting regions, aims to explore options to enhance biodiversity conservation in dairy farming, while maintaining viable farms and aligning with other sustainability objectives. To that end, we combine a range of methods, including stakeholders interviews, characterization and modelling of farming systems, and participatory approaches. We believe that integrating research disciplines and methods can generate novel insights that help to bend the curve of biodiversity loss.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGreen (r)evolution: from molecules to ecosystems, 19-20 November
Subtitle of host publicationBook of abstracts
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2021
EventScientific Student Conference 2021: Green (r)evolution: from molecules to ecosystems - online, Poland
Duration: 19 Nov 202120 Nov 2021


ConferenceScientific Student Conference 2021
Internet address


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