Cards for assessing agroecosystem health, AHC,have been brought out

Already available to the sector AHC or cards for assessment of agroecosystems health, created within the project LIFE SOILMONTANA.

What are AHCs?

AHCs or Agroecosystem Health Cards are handbooks that provide straightr forward. practical explanations en how to assess the hea!th cf agticultural and stockbreeding ecosystems. In particular, AHCs allow the evaluation of the impact of our actions (e.g agticultural practicas) on agroecosystem health.

To this aim, AHCs specify what indicators of groecosystem health one can measure, how to property do so, what each indicator means, as well as the value intervals considerad as “good”, “average” and “bad” for a correct interpretation of each specific indicator.

This AHC has been dewloped by NEIKER-The Basque lnstitute of Agriculture Research and Development, in collaboration with the Zeanuri and Orozco Stockbreeders Associations, the Lorra Agrostockbreeding Cooperative, the Biscay

County Council and the Basque Govemment, thanks to European Union funding (LIFE+ Programme-UFE1 ONAT/ES/579 project).

The aim of this UFE project is to assess the impact of agriculture practices usually carried out in gra.zing are as of the Gorbeia National Park ( northern Spain) and its surroundings, in orderto encourage the use cf more sustainable practicas from bath a socio-economic (exploitation of livestock resources) and environmental (preserving biodiversity and combating climate change] point of view.

Who can use the AHCs?

Anyone can use them. For this purpose, AHCs include a number of “basic” indicators that can be measured and interpreted without any special training or qualification.
How?
Simply by reading the AHC and using easy homemade instruments. lndeed, AHCs allow non-experts to properly diagnosa the health of agroecosystems, though at a basic level (sea page 25 in handbook).

In case you want te get a more comprehensive assessment, a number of “advanced” indicatcrs, which require more sophisticated equipment and prior training and qualification, have to be measured.
NEIKER ( contact: imijangos┬«neiker.net- ialbizu@neiker.net) has the infrastructure and expertise to determine and interpret these “advanced” indicators, in order to achieve a more comprehensive assessment cf agroecosystem health (see page 26 in handbook).