Supporting this environmentally sound and biodiversity-promoting management action is one of the most successful operations of the Austrian Agri-Environmental-Climate Scheme.
Over the last decades, agricultural land in Austria has suffered from a continuous decline in biodiversity. The primary objective of Operation M10.1.1 - Environmentally sound and biodiversity promoting management is to extensively preserve and enhance the country’s plant and animal biodiversity.
Any farmer who meets the minimum criteria may participate in this operation which includes such activities as the maintenance of landscape elements, crop rotation, the preservation of grassland, the establishment of biodiversity buffer strips and compulsory education and training.
In 2018, 47% of all agricultural land in Austria participated in Operation M10.1.1 (excluding mountain pastures). In terms of arable land only, around 52% of the area participated in this Operation and biodiversity strips covered 4% of all arable land in Austria.
The establishment of buffer strips on arable land has had a verifiably positive influence on farmland birds, on species diversity and on single species (for example skylark, whitethroat, partridge and shrike).
In terms of indicator species such as locusts and butterflies, biodiversity strips are significantly richer in species diversity than the surrounding arable land. More biodiversity strips at landscape level increases the biodiversity of indicators species on each single strip.