Django Conradi, rural real estate portfolio manager at a.s.r.: ‘To encourage farmers to bring back landscape elements to the countryside, we will foot the bill for the layout and planting. Farmers can submit a proposal for this purpose. We do this because enriching the countryside using landscape elements is good for biodiversity, and boosts landscape experience and identity.
In the past, Dutch farmland was surrounded by hedges, trees and stone walls. Not unlike the landscape that is still visible in the south of England today. In time, this changed, for example due to land consolidation. The result was large, rectangular pieces of agricultural land that could easily be farmed using agricultural machinery. Easy maintenance, but this type of efficiency comes at a price. The quality of the soil goes down due to the fact that there are no more hedges and trees. The soil retains less water and nitrate flows in the direction of the waterways. This has major implications for the crops that grow in the affected areas and for water quality. Wind and rain have full play and biodiversity declines due to the fact that there is not enough housing for animals such as insects, butterflies, birds and rodents.
We see that multiple farmers are following Menkveld’s lead. If we work together to bring enough landscape elements back, the result will be a more climate-robust landscape with “green-blue veins”; a combination of water and green strips with vegetation, where animals can move freely. We want to provide the next generation with fertile farmland.’