Biodiversity

Close up on butterflies in landscape

Biodiversity, the variety of life found on earth, is the foundation of all agriculture. It supports our food supply from the soil to the delivery of vital ecosystem services such as pollination.

Agriculture has reduced habitat for wild species due to a 500% expansion in the extent of cropland and pasture worldwide in the last 300 years. It has expanded into sensitive ecosystems and had far-reaching effects on biodiversity and carbon storage. Habitat loss has now been identified as the main threat to 85 - 90% of all species described by the IUCN as ‘threatened’ or ‘endangered’ and is the most commonly recorded reason for species extinction over the last 20 years. 

Organic Agrculture can help sustain biodiversity by: 

  • Providing food and shelter for wild species found on farms and thus increasing them in number and variety.
  • Supporting high levels of agro-biodiversity.
  • Maintaining healthy soils and soil fauna, such as earthworms.
  • Reducing the risk of water pollution.

To boost awarenss & use of sustainable techniques to conserve biodiversity, we call for: 

  • Support from governments and donors for truly sustainable agricultural techniques including organic as a policy for biodiversity conservation.
  • Introduction of the polluter-pays-principle for agriculture and ending perverse subsidies that promote agricultural practices harmful to biodiversity.
  • Research and extension to further develop long- term examples of biodiversity friendly farming techniques including organic and the promotion and exchange of successful techniques amongst farmers and technicians.
  • Food companies to prioritize and incentivize producers who use methods that conserve biodiversity.
  • Protection of farmers’ rights to develop, exchange, sell and save seeds.
     

You can learn more in our factsheet Organic Agriculture & Biodoversity