We conducted a study to assess to what extent current ecolabels contain standards that stimulate conservation and sustainable use of on-farm biodiversity of agricultural landscapes (agrobiodiversity). First, we developed an agrobiodiversity management yardstick to assess and compare the labeling schemes of ecolabels for arable farming. Key characteristics of the yardstick are the five levels linking the abstract notion of agrobiodiversity management to concrete measures on a farm and its foundation upon expert judgment regarding the effect of farming practices on agrobiodiversity. Several environmental themes, among them agrobiodiversity management, are regulated through the standards of labeling schemes of ecolabels. With the aid of this yardstick, the labeling schemes were scrutinized and the number, average efficacy, and compulsory nature of relevant standards was determined for 10 categories of farm management. The results show that all examined ecolabels contain at least some standards that stimulate conservation and sustainable use of agrobiodiversity, but there are large differences between the labels. We consider the results of the five ecolabels to be insufficient to warrant their usefulness as a governance strategy that the Dutch government could refer to and depend on as part of a national agrobiodiversity policy to stimulate agrobiodiversity.
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