Habitats that are not used as arable land in an agricultural environment can provide biodiversity hotspots and habitats for beneficial organisms that regulate crop pests.
Habitats for beneficial organisms are places where they find plenty of food and have good overwintering conditions – that is, as a rule, on uncultivated land, baulks, bush strips and shrub clumps. Beneficial predator species are the most important in reducing pest numbers. These mainly include the following insect species: ladybirds, goldfinches, predatory flies, gallflies and scorpionflies, parasitic wasps from the Ichneumonidae, Braconidae and Chalcididae families and many others. Natural pollinators should also be remembered, among them bumblebees, bumblebees, bee-eaters and wild solitary bees, which include the garden mason, which is very useful for orchard crops. In total, there are almost 470 species of bee insects. The eradication of the habitats of these organisms contributes to their extinction in agriculturally used areas. Therefore, when deciding to eliminate potential habitats for beneficial organisms, other parts of the land belonging to the farm should be excluded from intensive agricultural use, where these habitats can be restored.
The creation of new habitats for animals in the agricultural landscape is necessary to maintain biodiversity. The location of such sites should be aligned with the network of sites and ecological corridors existing in the region and be adapted to the type of organisms to be protected. Habitats for birds, small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects and other invertebrates can be mid-field thickets, single old trees, as well as water bodies and watercourses, drainage ditches, roadsides. They can also be unplanted areas within a crop canopy (so-called “windows for larks”), piles of ordinary soil – for solitary bees or piles of stones – for reptiles, or even strips of potholed soil – habitat for ground beetles. Extensively used meadows can also be a habitat of natural value for many animal groups. Meadow communities are valuable for the occurrence of rare and protected plant species, but also as a habitat for various animal groups. Leaving or creating traditionally used meadow areas in the agricultural landscape is associated with an increase in overall biodiversity in agricultural areas. Meadows of natural value, i.e. belonging to habitats protected in the Natura 2000 network or hosting birds listed in the Habitats Directive, are covered by the agri-environmental programme package subsidy scheme.