Encouraging Farmers to Observe Plants and Animals
- Topic area
- Environment, biodiversity, nature conservation
- Disaggregation level
- Education & lifelong learning
- LE– Programming Period
- LE 07–13
- Project period
- Project initiator
- Österreichisches Kuratorium für Landtechnik u Landentwicklung, Umweltbüro Klagenfurt
LE 07-13 information
Themenbereich (Untergliederung): ÖPUL und Umwelt (Bildung, Biodiversität)
Short descriptionWithin this project farmers deal with observation of nature and biodiversity. They now view their pastures from a new perspective, pay more attention to them, and feel more responsible for the preservation of species.
Point of departureIn 2004 a project was started to establish a means of measuring changes in biodiversity in Austria, which resulted in a set of 50 indicators such as ‘species monitoring by farmers’.Farmers are best placed to observe and count plants and animals, since they directly influence the diversity and, in 2007, fifty farmers started monitoring and have been providing data regularly even since. Meanwhile the monitoring process has been refined based on their experiences.
Targets and target groupsThe main aim is to raise awareness and understanding among farmers of the need for biodiversity in green pastures, and the need for nature protection, and thereby improve the conservation of pasture land throughout Austria.
Project implementation and measuresIn 2007 a countrywide network of farmers was set up, supported by environmental protection specialists. They observe and count plants that are sensitive to over-cultivation and/or over-fertilisation and report them to a central registry. Farmers are paid for this work and learn the effects of cultivation on the plants. In 2009, Agricultural Colleges and their students joined the observation process and in 2010 the monitoring was extended to some animals.
Results and effectsMonitoring makes farmers more aware of conservation and biodiversity and they see the direct relationship between them. Farmers now view their pastures from a new perspective, direct relationship between them. Farmers now view their pastures from a new perspective, pay more attention to them, and feel more responsible for the preservation of species. Showing a commitment to nature conservation helps raise self-esteem and improve the farmer’s status within society.
ErfahrungThe special feature of ‘Farmers Observing Plant and Animals in the Cultural Landscape’ is that the monitoring and recording of biodiversity is done by those who know the land and are directly responsible for its maintenance – namely farmers. Farmers learn the importance of the ecological cultivation of their land by observing rare animal and plant species. Recognising the needs of species can have a positive effect on future cultivation.