Evaluating nature's services on Canterbury arable farmland: a summary of results for farmers participating in this research project
The importance of ES or nature’s services is now very well established and ES have been demonstrated to be of very high economic value. However, intensification of agriculture in the last century has resulted in the substitution of many ES with chemical inputs. An example is the use of urea in place of nitrogen fixation and insecticides in place of pest-eating predators. This has resulted in some serious detrimental effects which have led to worldwide concerns about the environmental consequences of modern agriculture. Moreover as the world approaches ‘peak oil’, so called conventional agriculture may no longer be able to depend as heavily or as easily on oilderived ‘substitution’ inputs. Population growth and increasing food demands in the next 50 years also pose great challenges to the sustainability of modern farming practices. The current study recognises these challenges and in accordance with the maxim “what is measured, counts”, is designed to estimate the provisions of nature’s services on farmlands in Canterbury. It identifies and quantifies the extent of ES under different arable farming systems. In this study arable production systems in Canterbury are evaluated to provide estimates of their contribution towards the ‘natural capital’ of the nation. This research also calculates the economic value of key ES and thereby assesses their worth on farmland. Once the levels of ES are known, new eco-technologies based on novel and sound ecological knowledge can be targeted to enhance ES to improve farm incomes and replace unsustainable inputs. This ensures long- term sustainability of farms.... [Show full abstract]
Keywordsbiodiversity; ecosystem services; arable farmland; agriculture; nature's services; Canterbury
Fields of Research0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management
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