Biodiversity in agriculture/diverse agriculture

Agriculture is one of the fundamental drivers behind biodiversity loss worldwide. Monoculture crops and livestock, synthetic fertilisers and pesticides are the greatest contributors to the loss of biodiversity in agriculture.

In agriculture, synthetic pesticides are often used to eliminate unwanted weeds, pests and diseases, reducing biodiversity, particularly key soil microbial diversity in the system and upsetting ecosystem balance.

Two-thirds of the GE crops grown in the world are engineered to be used with harmful pesticides, and other GE crops release insecticides. Monoculture cropping, which is the norm in industrialised farming, reduces biodiversity. However, it is this very biodiversity that provides the key to pest protection, pollination, nutrient cycling, healthy soils and water quality.

Organic farming methods work to promote biodiversity and encourage wildlife in the system. This includes protecting and enhancing forest remnants, wetlands and other natural ecosystems that support wildlife. Organic farming also includes biodiversity as a way to enhance production. Allowing for diversity in an agricultural system helps to increase resilience to climate change and market fluctuations and reduces susceptibility to pest and disease outbreaks.

The Soil & Health Association supports:

Diverse organic farming systems that encourage biodiversity and wildlife in the system and help protect and enhance native ecosystems.

Natural forms of pest control.

Mixed rotational farming and keeping a living root in the soil at all times to sequester carbon.

Appropriate tree planting and the creation of regenerated forested areas in farming and agriculture, including planting of species native to the area, the creation of fruit and nut orchards, copses, hedgerows and shade and windbreak trees. We discourage the use of monoculture crops in agriculture systems.

                                            Photo credit: Nick Holmes

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