AFTER a decade or more of debate, a survey published today says it has proved that organic farms support more wildlife than the intensive agriculture that has become the norm in recent years
The study, conducted jointly be English Nature and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and , published in the journal Biological Conservation, concludes that a wide range of wildlife including birds, bats, insects and wild flowers flourish on organic farms.
In more than 50 comparisons it was usually, although not universally, true that organic farms had more individual wild animals and/or plants, including some declining species such as skylark.
Some studies showed organic farms had a greater diversity of wildlife than non-organic farms. The research concluded that there were three main reasons for this:
- Non-use of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides
- Sympathetic management of non-cropped habitats such as hedges, ditches and ponds
- And a greater tendency for organic farms to be mixed livestock and arable enterprises.