Conflicts between agriculture and biodiversity conservation in Europe: looking to the future through learning from the past

Lou Lecuyer, Didier Alard, Simon Calla, Brendan Coolsaet, Thomas Fickel, Katrin Heinsoo, Klaus Henle, Iryna Herzon, Isla Hodgson, Fabian Quetier, DI McCracken, Barry John McMahon, Indrek Melts, Dara Sands, Eirini Skrimizea, Allan Watt, Rehema M White, Juliette Young*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
74 Downloads (Pure)


Conflicts between agriculture and biodiversity conservation in Europe are increasing, due to multiple demands from agricultural ecosystems, including a growing need for high quality and good-value agricultural products, as well as the provision of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Currents trends such as globalization, European policies, and global change, such as climate change and nitrogen atmospheric deposition are potentially driving the emergence or evolution of biodiversity conflicts in Europe. These trends are interwoven with continuing debates around land-sparing and land-sharing, that often lead to conflicting perspectives and social dynamics that influence how local actors interact with each other over agriculture. Whilst some strategies have been put in place to address the potential competition between agriculture and biodiversity, such as reglementary and market-based mechanisms, and non-monetary voluntary approaches, these need to be reflected upon and improved for a future agriculture where the negative impacts of conflicts are minimized. This paper provides a comprehensive update on the current and future trends and evaluates current strategies, to highlight the importance of addressing conflict not only through technical fixes but by developing approaches that involve profound changes in agricultural systems and a shift in how people collaborate, perceive conflict and address it. We propose three emerging pathways—agroecology, a shift to partnerships, and conflict transformation—that would support a positive change for the future of biodiversity conflicts in agriculture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-56
JournalAdvances in Ecological Research
Early online date3 Nov 2021
Publication statusPrint publication - Jan 2022


  • Agriculture
  • Agroecology
  • Biodiversity
  • Conflict
  • Conflict transformation
  • Europe
  • Partnerships


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