Let a Thousand Species Bloom
Organic farming increases biodiversity, research indicates
According to the largest review yet done of studies comparing organic to conventional agriculture, organic farming increases biodiversity at every level, from bacteria to birds to mammals. The two groups that conducted the reviews — English Nature, a government group, and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds — had no vested interest in organic farming. They concluded that organic farming fosters biodiversity by using fewer inorganic fertilizers and pesticides and by adopting critter-friendly practices like mixing arable and livestock farming. Of particular note to the Royal birders was the flourishing on organic farms of lapwings, a bird species that has declined by 80 percent in the U.K. The researchers, whose results were published in the journal Biological Conservation, did not rule out that farmers inclined to go organic were simply more green to begin with, but either way, we like what we’re hearing.