Halting biodiversity loss in agro-ecosystems through targeted restructure of selected landscape elements, and bio-control of small mammal (pest) population outbreaks by management of nocturnal birds of prey as avifauna “indices”

The main aim of the project is summarized in three basic axis:

  1. The proposal for creation of “biodiversity hot-spots”, in selected areas of Thessaly agro-ecosystem in central Greece
  2. The creation of application guidelines for targeted management proposals upon selected landscape elements, in order to improve biodiversity indices presence & abundance, and improve natural processes for halting biodiversity loss according to: i) national & international scientific references ii) the new Common Agricultural Policy for 2014 – 2020 iii) the results of the project in each occasion and different area
  3. Natural control of small mammals’ overpopulation which are pests to agricultural economy. Artificial nest boxes were placed for Barn owls (Tyto alba). The species inhabits Thessaly plains but its natural breeding sites have undergone a serious decline, whereas its main feeding resources are small mammals. In accordance, it is possible through increasing Barn owl population to perform bio-control of pest small mammals in the region. Similar actions have been undertaken with success in Israel and are initiating in the Iberian Peninsula.

Field work was conducted in areas chosen through standard international methodology. A technical guide was created which included specific proposals for targeted, non-interventional restructure of agricultural landscape elements, in order to create biodiversity hot-spots. Through these practices which are aligned with the target of the new CAP which is to halt biodiversity loss by 2020, it is aimed to produce effective in-situ agro-environmental schemes (Pillar I & Pillar II of the CAP) depending on the particularities of each region. The absence of specified and effective agro-environmental schemes applied from each member country until now, is the main reason for biodiversity loss in European agricultural ecosystems. 

Participating Faculty and Staff: 
Starting Date: 
2 015
Ending Date: 
2 016
Funded by: 
National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) 2007 - 2013