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Ecological restoration of farmland: progress and prospects

By Mark R Wade, Geoff M Gurr and Steve D Wratten


Sustainable agricultural practices in conjunction with ecological restoration methods can reduce the detrimental effects of agriculture. The Society for Ecological Restoration International has produced generic guidelines for conceiving, organizing, conducting and assessing ecological restoration projects. Additionally, there are now good conceptual frameworks, guidelines and practical methods for developing ecological restoration programmes that are based on sound ecological principles and supported by empirical evidence and modelling approaches. Restoration methods must also be technically achievable and socially acceptable and spread over a range of locations. It is important to reconcile differences between methods that favour conservation and those that favour economic returns, to ensure that conservation efforts are beneficial for both landowners and biodiversity. One option for this type of mutual benefit is the use of agri-environmental schemes to provide financial incentives to landholders in exchange for providing conservation services and other benefits. However, further work is required to define and measure the effectiveness of agri-environmental schemes. The broader potential for ecological restoration to improve the sustainability of agricultural production while conserving biodiversity in farmscapes and reducing external costs is high, but there is still much to learn, particularly for the most efficient use of agri-environmental schemes to change land use practice

Topics: Research Article
Publisher: The Royal Society
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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