SHOWCASE partners visit Japan to foster collaboration and explore farmland biodiversity

16 May 2024

SHOWCASE project partners, Dr Indrek Melts and Ms Aki Kadulin from the Estonian University of Life Sciences, visited the University of Toyama in Japan, from 5 April to 27 April, to promote understanding and cooperation in the sustainable management of semi-natural grasslands. Ms Aki Kadulin's participation was funded by a scholarship from the Kristjan Jaak Programme, supported by the Republic of Estonia Ministry of Education and Research.

As part of their knowledge exchange, Ms Kadulin shared the results and participated in a stimulating discussion based on one of SHOWCASE’s objectives to explore how innovations and agricultural practices can optimise farmland biodiversity to stabilise ecosystem services and crop yields. Dr Melts gave a presentation on sustainable management practices in Estonian coastal grasslands, hosted by Global Sustainability Science Research Centre.

In addition to their academic activities, Dr Melts and Ms Kadulin also delved into the Satoyama landscape, a traditional Japanese farming system known for its harmonious coexistence of nature and people. This provided invaluable insights into the sustainable management of mosaic landscape with rice paddies, ponds, forests and grasslands - a model system that is important to the conservation of biodiversity throughout Japan.

Image: Ms Aki Kadulin at the Satoyama landscape.

Ms Kadulin also conducted interviews with local farmers and experts to discuss the factors behind the abandonment of semi-natural habitats, especially semi-natural grasslands, in Japan. This empirical study will be a vital input for the research article on species-rich grassland abandonment in European marginal agricultural areas.

Collaboration photo: Estonian University of Life Sciences' visit to Japan