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Biodiversity and ecosystem services

Landscape-scale biodiversity and the balancing of provisioning, regulating and supporting ecosystem services (BASIL)


Biological diversity supports and conserves ecosystem services. This project investigates how agricultural and environmental policy measures can support sustainable agricultural production.


The European agricultural landscape comprises a mosaic of intensively and extensively managed areas. Industrial agriculture plays a particular role as on the one hand it enables high productivity and thus an increased provision of food and other goods. On the other hand, focussing on these provisioning services may have adverse impacts on other ecosystem services (ES), such as the disturbance of nutrient cycling (regulating service) or the reduction of soil protection (regulating service), which in consequence might lead to severe environmental problems. In addition, global environmental changes, such as climate change and the loss of biological diversity, may challenge agricultural landscapes and their diverse services. Protecting biological diversity at a landscape level has a huge potential to preserve and support agricultural ecosystem services. However, there are knowledge gaps concerning the precise relationship between landscape, biodiversity, ecosystem services and agricultural production.


The interdisciplinary project, comprising eight European research institutions, aims at filling knowledge gaps related to landscape-scale biodiversity. In particular it will be analysed, (i) how intensively and extensively managed agricultural landscapes differ with respect to the ecosystem services they generate, (ii) which impact biodiversity has on ecosystem services and thus on the sustainability of agricultural production, and (iii) which effect political and institutional measures have on biodiversity, ecosystem services and agricultural production.