Organic farming leads to large increases in biodiversity

Photo credit: Jay and Melissa Malouin Photo credit: Jay and Melissa Malouin

A recent meta-analysis published in the Journal of Applied Ecology compared biodiversity under organic and conventional farming methods by studying the findings from 94 studies. After confounding factors were accounted for, the results showed that organic farms had 30 percent more species than conventional farms, and this trend was seen consistently across literature published over the past 30 years. The majority of research comparing conventional and organic farming systems has taken place in developed countries, particularly Europe and North America, leaving a large gap in our knowledge and a need for more research on the effects of organic farming on diversity in tropical and sub-tropical areas. “This analysis affirms that organic farming usually has large positive effects on average species richness compared with conventional farming. Given the large areas of land currently under agricultural production, organic methods could undoubtedly play a major role in halting the continued loss of diversity from industrialized nations,” the authors conclude.