Functional biodiversity covers all the aspects of nature and the landscape around us that we, as humans, benefit from. These functions are also called ecosystem services. Such services are, for example, pollination, natural pest control, water storage and the reduction of heat stress in the city. Studies have demonstrated that green cities provide enormous social and economic benefits. Ecosystem services in agriculture can help to solve environmental problems.
Since 2001 we have delivered major contributions to the development of FAB: Functional Agro Biodiversity in agriculture. The focus of our research has been the development of (flower rich) field margins to combat aphid pests in crops. In addition, we also develop practical methods and approaches and provide advice to agricultural businesses to assist them with the integration of nature and landscape management on their farms. We test new approaches to agricultural nature, such as the Nature and Landscape Standards (Natuur- en LandschapsNorm, NLN) and new ways to accommodate NGO’s and enterprises in (agricultural) supply chains.
Our approach in rural areas can also be translated to urban areas, for example, in encouraging the development of urban agriculture. We involve citizens (‘Citizen Science’) in the monitoring of solitary bees in the city, as a tool to evaluate the ecological quality of gardens and public green spaces. Through a smart design of bio-diverse and varied environment we can make our living conditions much more attractive, healthier and valuable.