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Organic Farms Helping Wildlife   - Wednesday, August 3, 2005


 

In a five year study where scientists looked at biodiversity between 160 matching pairs of organic and non-organic farms around the country, it was found that the organic farms supported much greater diversity and numbers of plants and animals than non-organic farms.

The research involved looking at hedgerows, spiders, beetles, wild flowers birds and bats and some significant numbers were returned. These include:

85% increase in plant biodiversity for organic farms
  • 17% more spiders
  • 5% more birds
  • 33% more bats

Dr Lisa Norton from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, said; “Organic farmers try to work with natural processes to increase productivity, using sustainable farming practices. Increased biodiversity is a happy by-product of this approach. For example, hedges on organic farms are kept in good stock-proof condition, as livestock are often an important part of the organic farming system. Typically, these stock-proof hedges are full of native, berry-producing shrubs, which are great for insects and the birds and bats that feed on them.”

The rise in demand for organic produce could inadvertently lead to a helping hand for Britain’s farm and hedgerow wildlife.