Project number: 862731
Full project title: Farmer Clusters for realising agrobiodiversity management across Europe
Overall project coordinator: James Hutton Institute
Czech project partners: FES CZU Prague (coordinator), FEM CZU, AMPI
Czech project component principal investigators: prof. Iris C. Bohnet, PhD (coordinator), doc. Ing. Kristina Janeckova, Ph.D., doc. Ing. Lukáš Zagata, Ph.D., prof. Ing. Petr Sklenička, Ph.D
Contact person: Mgr. Emilie Trakalova
Project schedule: 2020-2025
Total project budget (for 18 European project partners): 7 999 853 Euro
Czech project budget: 363 031 Euro
Biodiversity is essential for agroecosystem resilience, sustainability and long-term food security. Traditionally, management for short-term economic returns has taken priority over management for the environment. Current mechanisms for compensating and encouraging farmers to apply biodiversity sensitive management strategies are often inefficient, being applied at individual farm rather than landscape level, and tend to be generic solutions, imposed from the top down at an EU or national level. Monitoring is rarely carried out and there is therefore little scope for evaluating the success of strategies in achieving improvements to farmland biodiversity.
FRAMEwork will design and develop a novel alternative to this called the FRAMEwork System for Biodiversity Sensitive Farming to enable the transition EU farming systems to a position where they can conserve biodiversity and benefit from the enhancement of ecosystem services, while mitigating agronomic or economic risks.
The FRAMEwork System for Biodiversity Sensitive Farming combines the following elements:
- Advanced Farmer Cluster Network – groups of farmers will work as a collective to generate effective, targeted and efficient management plans in collaboration with scientists and local stakeholders at a catchment landscape scale. Tailored solutions will be based on farmers’ own expert knowledge of their land and production systems. Co-innovation between farmers, scientists and local multi-disciplinary stakeholders ensures that the solutions have multiple benefits and can generate win-win-win scenarios for environmental, economic and social sustainability. Management interventions are monitored by Farmer Cluster members to evaluate success and enable iterative improvement in scheme design. Advanced Farmer Clusters are supported by a Cluster Facilitator with expertise in agriculture and the environment and linked to a local Cluster Stakeholder Group to inform and promote policy and practice.
- Scientific Innovation – state of the art research on the ecology, sociology and economics that underpins the functioning of sustainable agricultural systems. Analysis of the impact of management on agrobiodiversity and ecosystem services, together with research on the social, economic, and natural capital implications of the farmer cluster approach, provides the evidence base to assess costs and benefits of the FRAMEwork System. This knowledge delivers a) the basis for iterative development of bespoke management solutions through monitoring programmes and training to promote peer-to-peer learning, b) positive influence on farmer attitudes and behaviour, and c) the generation of effective farmer incentives and buy-in, for long- term, sustainable and persistent adoption of biodiversity sensitive management.
- Technical Resource – technical specialists associated with regional, national and international networks provide technical information, methods, and tools to support agrobiodiversity management, monitoring and policy including the dedicated Decision Support Tools (DSTs) – FRAMEselect to aid the selection of best practice management interventions, and FRAMEtest for guiding the choice of appropriate policy practices and incentive schemes. This technical resource also covers a diversity of standardised monitoring protocols, identification guides and analysis tools for citizen science applications.
- Citizen Observatory and Information Hub – an open access platform to support FRAMEwork networks, facilitating the sharing of activities, information, data and resources between farmers, scientists, policy makers, and citizens.
Creation of the FRAMEwork System for Biodiversity Sensitive Farming, including the initiation of the Advanced Farmer Cluster approach, supported by creation of a cohort of Cluster Facilitators, and the Citizen Observatory and Information Hub with the scientific and technical tools and data it provides, will leave a durable legacy for future establishment of collective, landscape scale biodiversity sensitive farming practices worldwide.
The Czech research team from the Land Research Group and the Faculty of Economics and Management will establish a pilot Farmer Cluster in the Czech Republic consisting of neighbouring farmers who will work in collaboration with other European Farmer Clusters and FRAMEwork partners to achieve landscape scale biodiversity sensitive farming practices. It will be the first Czech Farmer Cluster put in place with funding provided by FRAMEwork to pay for a dedicated Farmer Cluster facilitator who provides support and training to farmers.