Effects of organic farming on ecosystem services and multifunctionality in Switzerland: the ServiceGrass project

Effects of organic farming on ecosystem services and multifunctionality in Switzerland: the ServiceGrass project
Effects of organic farming on ecosystem services and multifunctionality in Switzerland: the ServiceGrass project

Authors:¬†Klaus V.H.(1), Richter F.1, Buchmann N.(1), Jan P.(2), El Benni N.(2)and L√ľscher A.(3)¬†

(1)Institute of Agricultural Sciences, ETH Z√ľrich, Universit√§tstr. (2), 8092 Z√ľrich, Switzerland;¬† Research Division Competitiveness and System Evaluation, Agroscope, T√§nikon, 8356 Ettenhausen, Switzerland; (3)Forage Production and Grassland Systems, Agroscope,¬† eckenholzstrasse 191, 8046 Z√ľrich, Switzerland

Abstract:
Sustainable agriculture delivers not only market goods but also many public ecosystem services and nonmarket goods. Agricultural intensification undermines the delivery of many public ecosystem services at local level. Organic farming might decrease the environmental impact of intensive food and feed production on grasslands and could therefore be able to sustain both private and public ecosystem services. A systematic literature search of scientific publications revealed the absence of literature on the impact of organic farming on ecosystem services in grasslands. Thus, the project ServiceGrass was initiated to explore effects of organic grassland farming on several ecosystem services and their simultaneous provisioning, i.e. multifunctionality, in Switzerland. The principal aim of the project is to compare the ability of organic and  onventional grasslands to deliver ecosystem services at plot and farm levels, including  anagement intensification as a major driver. We aim at up-scaling results from grassland plots to farm- and sector-level in order to draw conclusions on the realized ecosystem services portfolio of both  arming systems. Findings of this project will underline strengths and weaknesses of organic and conventional farming systems in delivering multiple ecosystem services for sustainable future  grassland management.

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