Our global food system is the primary driver of biodiversity loss and a major driver of climate change. In Greece, agriculture is the second most important threat to species and the first most important threat to habitats of European interest (National Centre of Environment and Sustainable Development, 2018).
The challenge is to develop farming systems, where biodiversity does not decline, but instead thrives, for the benefit of farmers and ecosystems. In the framework of its Sustainable Food Systems programme, MedINA has been working since 2017 on the island of Lemnos and since 2020 on Kythera to support farmers in maintaining or transitioning to biodiversity-friendly farming systems through training, consultations, and the opportunity to apply MedINA’s certification scheme “Terra Vita – Agricultural Tradition & Biodiversity”.
The project “Conserving and enhancing agricultural biodiversity” aims to promote on-farm biodiversity in collaboration with MedINA’s local network of farmers on the island of Lemnos. Biodiversity-positive practices are directly linked to the set of standards (good practices) of the Terra Vita certification scheme.
Actions in this phase of the project include:
a) Select and apply biodiversity-positive practices to the farms of collaborating farmers. These involve the support of barn owl (Tyto alba) colonies, as a specialized predator to control rodent populations, as well as the enhancement of hedgerows with native plant species of Lemnos, mainly Valonia oaks (Quercus ithaburensis subsp. macrolepis).
b) Engage with the entire network of farmers to consult, train, and inform them on the multiple benefits of on-farm biodiversity conservation, in conjunction with the Terra Vita certification scheme and eco-schemes subsidies.
c) Engage with the local community, especially young people, to increase understanding of the need for healthy agroecosystems, the role of biodiversity, and the value of agri-food heritage as a lever for local sustainable development.
The project “Conserving and enhancing agricultural biodiversity” is funded by the A.G. Leventis Foundation.