People prefer arable fields and flower strips with continuous soil cover and diversified vegetation - AgroParisTech Access content directly
Journal Articles Ecology and Society Year : 2023

People prefer arable fields and flower strips with continuous soil cover and diversified vegetation

Abstract

Agriculture is a key driver of the dynamics and transformation of rural landscapes in Western Europe. However, little is known about the influence of cropping techniques on visual perceptions of the aesthetic and ecological value of agricultural fields. We used an online survey to investigate the preferences of French residents for fields of contrasting appearances due to different cropping systems. Participants were shown photographs taken at four periods of field management (i.e., fallow period, seedbed preparation, recommencement of plant growth after winter, and end of the cycle crop), either alone or in combination with temporal sequences typical of organic, conservation, and conventional cropping systems. The perception of flower strips across the seasons was also evaluated according to three levels of diversity and two management options (with and without summer mowing). Agricultural fields with high degrees of soil cover (e.g., presence of a cover crop, narrow inter-rows) and diversified vegetation (e.g., intercrop, weeds) were perceived as more aesthetic and favorable for biodiversity. The temporal sequences reflecting visual appearances of cropped fields under conservation agriculture were considered more aesthetically appealing and favorable to biodiversity than those for organic or conventional agriculture. Participants ranked wildflower strip sequences in descending order of plant species diversity. Within diversity levels, strips not mown in summer were preferred over those mown in summer for both aesthetic and biodiversity preservation value. These results could provide the basis of a design for payments for environmental services, including the socio-cultural services provided by agroecological cropping systems.
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Dates and versions

hal-04093273 , version 1 (24-05-2023)

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Lola Serée, Sophie Legras, François Chiron, Muriel Valantin-Morison, Antoine Gardarin. People prefer arable fields and flower strips with continuous soil cover and diversified vegetation. Ecology and Society, 2023, 28 (2), pp.9. ⟨10.5751/ES-14098-280209⟩. ⟨hal-04093273⟩
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