There is an urgent need to increase the efficiency and sustainability of agriculture to feed our growing global human population. Biodiversity is essential for the resilience of ecosystems on agricultural land, sustainability and long-term food security. FRAMEwork aims to conserve biodiversity by getting farmers to work together, through the Advanced Farmer Cluster approach, so that they can benefit from the enhancement of ecosystem services at a landscape level.
- FRAMEwork (Farmer Clusters for Realising Agrobiodiversity Management across Ecosystems) consortium comprises of 18 project partners.
- Funding is from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.
- 11 pilot studies in 9 countries (UK, Spain, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, Austria, Estonia,) spanning over five years.
Current Biodiversity Sensitive Management strategies are often inefficient, only applied at the individual farm level and tend to be generic solutions not site-specific. Monitoring is often rarely carried out therefore there is little scope for evaluation success.
FRAMEwork will follow the progress of more than 100 farmers, as part of 11 pilot studies, while they make the transition to Biodiversity Sensitive Farming through the implementation of the Advanced Farmer Cluster approach. Farmers will work together to enhance biodiversity at a landscape level by expanding current farmer clusters and creating new clusters across the UK and Europe.
The project will encompass a range of European farming practices and cover a wide range of biodiversity foci (e.g., arable plants, invertebrates, arthropod predators, insect pollinators, reptiles, birds and mammals) and related ecosystem functions (e.g., weed control, crop pollination, natural pest control, ecosystem engineering, crop damage and livestock predation). Through the synthesis of monitoring criteria, community engagement with clusters and knowledge sharing our FRAMEwork System aims to streamline biodiversity monitoring in agricultural landscapes and to make it more achievable and rewarding for farmers.
GWCT has already taken a leading role in developing and facilitating the Farmer Cluster movement in the UK, which is helping farmers to help themselves and their neighbours, to deliver greater biodiversity and environmental benefits at a landscape level. Five farmer clusters were established as part of a pilot study between 2013 and 2015. These have now expanded to include more than 100 Farmer Clusters throughout England, covering 450,000 ha and involving 1,700 farmers. This project will be an excellent opportunity for us to evaluate the performance of Farmer Clusters on an even larger scale and to determine the economic, social and ecological costs and benefits of the FRAMEwork System.
By expanding the Farmer Cluster network further across the UK and into Europe, we hope to establish this larger network on a permanent basis and continue to grow it by promoting and increasing awareness, particularly through the Citizen Observatory and Information Hub (an open access platform to support FRAMEwork networks) and sustained farmer-to-farmer learning.
FRAMEwork is built on our understanding of the importance of landscape scale ecological processes in promoting the conservation of biodiversity on agricultural land and the power of collective approaches to land management. The project will develop results-based incentive schemes to promote future uptake and new cluster collaborations, as well as aiming to advance knowledge of ecological processes in farming systems and improve the capacity of farming to deliver food and nutritional security. It is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. To find out more via our blog or videos, or to subscribe to e-mail updates, please visit www.framework-biodiversity.eu