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Data from: Land sparing to make space for species dependent on natural habitats and High Nature Value farmland

Citation

Feniuk, Claire; Green, Rhys E.; Balmford, Andrew (2019), Data from: Land sparing to make space for species dependent on natural habitats and High Nature Value farmland, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.k82d3t3

Abstract

Empirical evidence from four continents indicates that human food demand may be best reconciled with biodiversity conservation through sparing natural habitats by boosting agricultural yields. This runs counter to the conservation paradigm of wildlife-friendly farming which is influential in Europe, where many species are dependent on low-yielding High Nature Value farmland threatened by both intensification and abandonment. In the first multi-taxon population-level test of land-sparing theory in Europe, we quantified how population densities of 175 bird and sedge species varied with farm yield across 26 1-km squares in eastern Poland. We discovered that, as in previous studies elsewhere, simple land sparing, with only natural habitats on spared land, markedly out-performed land sharing in its effect on region-wide projected population sizes. However, a novel “three-compartment” land-sparing approach, in which about one-third of spared land is assigned to very low-yield agriculture and the remainder to natural habitats, resulted in least-reduced projected future populations for more species. Implementing the three-compartment model would require significant reorganisation of current subsidy regimes, but would mean high-yield farming could release sufficient land for species dependent on both natural and High Nature Value farmland to persist.

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