|Biodiversity, the variety of life on earth, is the foundation for all agriculture - from the food we eat to the ecosystem services we rely on for production.|
esta página en español cette page en français
Biodiversity, particularly wild-biodiversity, the variety of life on earth, is the foundation for all agriculture - from the food we eat to the ecosystem services we rely on for production.
Organic Agriculture standards and practices ensure agricultural land, 1/3 of the earth's land surface, is sympathetically managed for biodiversity and that primary ecosystems are not cleared to further extend the agricultural
IFOAM: Organic Agriculture Standards and Certification - explanation and links.
Research into Organic Agriculture practices has shown that organic systems have the potential to support biodiversity conservation through increasing the number and variety of wild species found on farms, supporting high levels of agrobiodiversity, maintaining healthy soils and soil fauna, such as earthworms, reducing the risk of water pollution, being energy efficient and finally; lowering emissions of carbon dioxide to reduce global warming.
Organic Agriculture is a holistic production management system, which enhances agro-ecosystem health, utilizing both traditional and scientific knowledge. Organic Agricultural systems rely on ecosystem management rather than external agricultural inputs.
Not all agriculture is beneficial to biodiversity.
Agriculture has reduced habitat for wild species: there has been a 500% expansion in the extent of cropland and pasture worldwide in the last 300 years. Habitat loss is now identified as the main threat to 85 - 90% of all species described by International Union for Conservation of Nature as ‘threatened’ or ‘endangered’ and is the most commonly recorded reason for species extinction during the last 20 years.
Conventional agricultural practices have major environmental impacts: it has been estimated that the environmental cost (impacts on wildlife, pollinators, natural enemies, fisheries, water, and development of resistance) and social costs (human poisonings and illnesses) of pesticide use reach about US$8 billion each year.
Pollution of the natural gene pool: the contamination of cultivated and wild species by invasive exotic genes introduced through Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) is causing pollution of the natural gene pool. Organic Agriculture has been proven to be an effective method for conserving biodiversity, but more needs to be done to realize this advantage, including:
Support from governments and donors for Organic Agriculture as a policy for biodiversity conservation
Ending perverse subsidies that encourage agriculture damaging to biodiversity and introducing the polluter-pays-principle for agriculture
Research and extension to develop long-term examples of biodiversity-friendly organic farming and to promote and exchange successful techniques amongst farmers and technicians, market promotion for organic products highlighting their biodiversity benefits, protection of farmers’ rights to develop, exchange, sell and save seeds. (IFOAM 2008)
IFOAM is constantly updating the information on this website. Comments or suggestions contact the Platform Coordinator
Back to the Growing Organic main page
|IFOAM - International Federation of Organic Agriculture | firstname.lastname@example.org|