Development of a Biodiversity Monitor for Arable Farming

The current ways in arable farming offer little room for flourishing biodiversity. The focus on large-scale production for the world market gives farmers little chance to focus on natural values. But what if farmers not only earn money from the products they provide, but also get paid for their (ecosystem) services? In the public-private partnership (PPP) Biodiversity Monitor for Arable Farming, the Louis Bolk Institute is developing a system to reward farmers for positive impact on biodiversity.

Biodiversity in arable farming

Biodiversity in arable farming is a challenge. Many farmers want to work on restoring biodiversity in arable areas, but the current economic system is slowing this down. The Arable Farming Industry Association, the World Wildlife Fund, Rabobank, and the Province of Groningen want to change this by facilitating financial rewards for investing in biodiversity. The Louis Bolk Institute is working together with Wageningen University and BoerenNatuur on the development of a system to reward farmers for biodiversity, without imposing strict measures.

Working with KPIs

The system applied within the Biodiversity Monitor for Arable Farming works with KPIs: key performance indicators. Key performance indicators reflect the efforts of a grower at farm level that benefit biodiversity. The integral set of KPIs that jointly reflect the performance on overall biodiversity keep each other (and therefore the outcome on biodiversity) in balance. The Conceptual Framework for Biodiversity, developed by the Louis Bolk Institute, forms the basis of these KPIs. This system is already being used successfully in the Biodiversity Monitor Livestock Farming that has already been developed.

From development to a practical tool

In 2017, the development of KPIs for a Biodiversity Monitor for Arable Farming commenced. The partners are now investigating what really works for biodiversity in arable farming. The KPIs will subsequently be tested in practice and tested against a set of conditions that must guarantee usability for the arable farmer. Threshold and target values will also be derived. The aim is a concept for a definitive design of a Biodiversity Monitor for Arable Farming.