Organic Farms Support Richer Biodiversity

usda-organic-sealOn average, organic farms support 34 percent more plant, insect and animal species than conventional farms, according to research by Oxford University scientists published in the Journal of Applied Ecology. Researchers examined data going back 30 years and found that this effect has remained stable over time and shows no signs of decreasing. “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. For pollinators such as bees, the number of different species was 50 percent higher on organic farms, although it is important to note that the study only looked at species richness. “Species richness tells us how many different species there are but does not say anything about the total number of organisms,” said Tuck. Reported in the April 2014 issue of Acres U.S.A.