Organic farms have a positive effect on biodiversity

Photo Credit: John Fowler Photo Credit: John Fowler

A new European study published in the Journal of Applied Ecology found that organic farms are able to support more species than conventional farms. Researchers from the UK (Oxford), Sweden (SLU), and Switzerland (University of Zurich) teamed up to examine the evidence of how different agricultural methods affect the diversity of life present on farms. They found that on average, organic farms support 34 percent more plant, insect, and animal species than conventional farms. When pollinators such as bees were looked at individually, they found that organic farms had 50 percent higher species diversity than conventional farms. “Our study has shown that organic farming, as an alternative to conventional farming, can yield significant long-term benefits for biodiversity,” said Sean Tuck of Oxford University's Department of Plant Sciences, lead author of the study. “Organic methods could go some way towards halting the continued loss of diversity in industrialized nations.”