At a global level, increasing emphasis on sustainable development highlights the importance of maintaining and enhancing biodiversity. Within the European Union, agricultural reforms will have a considerable influence on the links between biodiversity, agriculture and rural communities over the next 10-20 years. An understanding of the associations between biodiversity and the rural economy is important for the development of policies to promote environmentally sustainable economic and social well-being. However, investigations of this type are frequently hindered by the different ways in which data in the natural and social sciences are collected. In this paper, we develop an innovative approach to combine data using a common spatial unit. We illustrate the application of this approach by examining associations between bird species richness, environmental and socio-economic variables. Our results show how the statistical relationship between biodiversity and environmental factors is strengthened and contextualised by prevailing socio-economic conditions. This example highlights the additional insights that can be gained from such an integrative approach, especially in terms of the questions it raises about the inter-relationships between the social, physical and ecological dynamics of rural environments.
- environmental and socio-economic data analysis
- spatial data reconciliation and aggregation
- FARMLAND BIRDS