Three farm types
In contrast to the usual big-scale farms, Farming for Nature describes two alternative types: landscape-oriented and nature-oriented.
The big-scale farm has one objective: producing food as efficiently as possible for the world market according to the rules of good agricultural practice. Nature and landscape do not contribute to the production. On a big-scale farm big pieces of land are tilled at the same time. This type of business is mainly found in more recent, large scale landscapes, like the sea clay area. Close to urban areas and nature reserves this farm type is less suitable.
On the landscape-oriented farm, the agricultural production is the main objective as well. Apart from that, there is income from maintaining and managing landscape elements such as wooded banks, pools, bushes, rows of trees, etc. These revenues can amount to 10% of the income of the farmer. This type of farm fits well into old cultural landscapes.
The nature-oriented farm goes beyond the other ones. Agriculture is purely for the benefit of realizing nature purposes. Not only does 10% of the surface consist of landscape elements, also on the other 90% nature conservation plays an important role. Nature gets all the space it needs because the business extensifies and the soil becomes poorer. The extensification is a result of the simple objective, ‘zero-input'. The farm is not allowed at all to import manure or feed for the livestock. It has to be 100% self-sufficient. Because of the transport from the farm of agricultural produce (milk, meat, etc.) the soil gradually will become poorer. The scarce manure will be saved for the arable land. The farmer will choose to let the soil grow poorer on the least productive parts of his land from the agricultural point of view. These are the areas that are too wet, too small or too poor. From an ecological point of view these are usually the parts that are most likely to be successful and the most valuable. The farmer receives an income for the delivered green services. The nature-oriented farm really fits well into the transition area around nature reserves, drinking water areas and areas with high nature and landscape values. It is here that limitations regarding nature and landscape get a chance. They are valuable nearby cities because of their recreational attractiveness. They form an ideal buffer zone around nature reserves, but they also have a very high biodiversity themselves.