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Multi-scale trade-off between agricultural production and biodiversity in a grassland agroecosystem

Abstract : Over the last two decades, agri-environment schemes have been developed by member states of the European Union. Recent assessments reveal the lack of success of these schemes in stopping biodiversity loss. While initial schemes focused on wildlife-friendly practices at field scale, the agro-landscape scale is increasingly considered as the relevant scale of analysis and intervention. Recent studies argue that efficient schemes require modifying both management practices at field scale and their spatial arrangements at landscape scale, in order to increase the spatial heterogeneity of agro-landscapes. To date however, only a few studies quantified the relationships between agricultural production and biodiversity conservation in farmlands. The objective of this thesis is to asses, at different spatial and temporal scales the trade-offs between production and bird conservation in a grassland agroecosystem used for meat cattle breeding. The research methodology is based on several models, built within the mathematical framework of the viability theory. These models formalize the interactions between grazing and mowing practices and the ecological dynamics of two grassland bird species at three nested spatial scales (field, farm and landscape). The five major findings of this thesis are as follows: at field scale: (1) The timing and intensity of grazing are the major drivers of the trade-off between production and bird conservation. (2) The best ecological performances are obtained for intermediate levels of productive performances. (3) The inter-annual variations of management practices, made possible by result-oriented agri-environment schemes, improve ecological performances while at the same time increase grassland management flexibility. (4) At farm scale, the proportion of management regimes is a major driver of the trade-off between production and conservation, but bird conservation always implies a production cost. (5) At landscape scale, the spatial arrangement of different land uses improves the trade-off between production and conservation. Overall, these results reveal the different drivers of the production / conservation trade-offs at different scales. At each scale, the interactions between the different management regimes are the basis of the trade-off mechanisms between production and conservation. The importance of the spatial arrangement of management regimes suggests that the conciliation between production and conservation could strongly benefit from increased coordination among farms.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, September 6, 2011 - 5:27:31 PM
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  • HAL Id : pastel-00619730, version 1

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Rodolphe Sabatier. Multi-scale trade-off between agricultural production and biodiversity in a grassland agroecosystem. Animal biology. AgroParisTech, 2010. English. ⟨NNT : 2010AGPT0064⟩. ⟨pastel-00619730⟩

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