Economic and ecological effects of changes in agricultural field size

Together with colleagues from the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences inVienna, Lund University, the Bavarian State Institute of Agriculture and the University of Würzburg, Stefan Kirchweger has published a paper on “Do improved pollination services outweigh farm-economic disadvantages of working in small-structured agricultural landscapes? – Development and application of a bio-economic model” in the journal Ecological Economics. Using a spatially explicit landscape model, it is shown that an increase in agricultural field sizes leads to a significant decrease in pollination by wild bees and thus to lower yields on pollinator-dependent crops. This has a negative effect on agricultural revenues. In contrast, it is shown that the management of larger fields results in lower production costs and that this cost reduction is higher than the decrease in revenues. It is concluded that economic incentives and innovation will be needed in the future in order to manage small-scale farming structures profitably.

You can find the publication here.