Species rich seeding on agricultural fields

Species rich seeding on agricultural fields
Species rich seedings enrich the landscape's appearance. © qay/ pixelio.de

Involved sectors

Agriculture, Hunting, Nature protection, Other: Beekeepers, Countryside management associations

Affected habitats

Arable land


Species-rich seeding of wild and cultivated plants on set-aside or other areas (e.g. "green" areas created in compensation for natural spaces lost through construction of roads etc.; fallow land in residential areas), can enrich the landscape’s appearance and make a valuable contribution to the biotope network. Seeding with wild species provides a source of food and cover for wild fauna and, depending on the mix of seeds used, can also provide habitats for insects (butterflies, bees, ground beetles, spiders). Sown areas are also used by hedge dwellers (e.g. the Red-Backed Shrike (Lanius collurio)) as substitute habitats. Seeding should take place from mid-April to the end of June, and depending on the condition of the site, may require preparatory measures (e.g. removal of weeds, ploughing etc.). Suitable seed assortments are commercially available.


Impact in particular on Small mammals, Big mammals, Birds, Insects
Ecological impact  
Improvement or preservation of habitats Areas which have undergone species-rich seeding provide habitat for rare species and can have a buffer effect in the intensively used agricultural landscape.
Element of ecological network The relevant areas can act as stepping stone biotopes in the biotope network, and the impact can be increased if integrated into a broader strategy.
Other Soil fertility.
Time of realisation for measure Months: Some months elapse between the adoption of the preparatory measures and the appearance of the full impact during the vegetation period.
Impact scope Local (municipality): If integrated into a broader strategy (local planning) which includes field margins, for example, a heightened impact can be achieved.


Implementation period Weeks: Seeding does not involve a great deal of work, and generally, no management is required afterwards.
Frequency Non-recurring, Recurring: Preferable long-term programmes, but implementation of a single measure can be effective.

Economic and legal aspects

Costs Very low (less than 1'000 EUR): Costs are likely to amount to approx. €150/ha p.a. over a 5-year period.
Socio-economic impacts Medium: Depending on the seed mixture, specific plants can be used (herbs, flowers). Enhances the visual appearance of the landscape (tourism). Significance for hunting, bee-keeping.
Sources of financing Public: local, Public: regional, Public: national, Public: European
Legal situation Species-rich seeding can form part of countryside management/cultural landscape programmes.

Further information

Evaluation Areas which have undergone species-rich seeding have long formed part of contractual nature conservation programmes. There are various examples of schemes which have been implemented as part of biotope networking initiatives. In Bavaria, a pilot project (“The Biotope Network in the Cultural Landscape”) was carried out from 2000-2005, and various seed mixtures are available via this scheme.
Information Germany: http://www.lwg.bayern.de/landespflege/landschaftspflege/25786/ansaat_pilotpro.pdf/ http://www.lebensraum-brache.de/Projekte/Lebensraum_Brache/index.php/
Contact Germany: Bavarian State Institute for Viticulture and Horticulture (LWG), Countryside Management Department, contact: Martin Degenbeck
Good Practice Species rich seeding on agriculturral fields, Würzburg district, Germany
Exemple du district de Würzburg, Allemagne
Esempio della regione di Würzburg, Germania

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