Organic farming is better for birds

Photo Credit: Stephen A. Wolfe Photo Credit: Stephen A. Wolfe

A new study out of France examines the benefits that organic agriculture has on bird populations. Although many papers have cited examples of the benefits that organic farming plays on bird species, this is the first study that synthesizes available research to determine the relationship between farming practices and bird population health. The researchers focused on birds in Europe and North America to test whether organic agriculture is more favorable to farmland birds compared to conventional agriculture, and found that organic farming techniques benefit birds on a large scale. “We found that organic agriculture had a global positive effect on bird abundance compared to conventional agriculture,” according to the authors of the study. Ten out of the 36 species examined showed a significantly higher abundance on organic farms than on conventional farms. The study cites “bird-friendly” practices used by organic techniques—such as diverse crop rotations, reduced use of pesticides, and the creation of more heterogeneous landscapes—as being responsible for these findings.