The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2010 ‘the Year of Biodiversity’
The main goals of the International Year of Biodiversity are to:
The following links contain more information on the UN year of Biodiversity 2010.
Biodiversity is the the variety of life on earth. It includes the great diversity of all living organisms, the ecosystems they inhabit and the genetic variety they contain. Biodiversity provides many services for people including the foundation for agricultural production.
Organic agriculture practices support biodiversity conservation by increasing the number and variety of wild species found on farms. This applies at all levels, including the soil, which itself contains an enormous diversity of organisms. Organic systems also have the potential to increase the diversity of native organisms, due to requirement for windbreaks and natural areas, the absence of pesticides, and the mindset of organic farmers to work with, rather than against nature.
Organic growing also supports off-farm biodiversity by controlling pollution, water quality and other negative off-farm effects of agriculture.
Organic agriculture uses less energy and produces less carbon dioxide emissions which will help to reduce global warming and the threat that rising temperatures carries for many species.
Organic standards and practices also ensure that natural ecosystems are not cleared to further make more room for agricultural activity. Habitat loss is now identified as the main threat to 85 - 90% of all species described by IUCN as ‘threatened’ or ‘endangered’ and is the most commonly recorded reason for species extinction during the last 20 years.
Organic agriculture is more likely to use open-pollinated species that preserve the diversity and resilience of agriculture crops and does not permit the use of uniform genetically modified crops. 75% of agricultural crop diversity has been lost in the last 100 years.
Domesticated animal breeds are also declining and it is estimated that at least one breed of farm animal becomes extinct each week; with more than 25% of all livestock breeds are at risk.
Organic agriculture is a proven and effective method for conserving biodiversity.
The following links provide further information on the relationship between agriculture and biodiversity loss and the potential for organic agriculture to limit this loss and to support and enhance biodiversity both on and of the farm.