Better For Wildlife

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ORGANIC FARMING BETTER FOR WILDLIFE

Over 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered*125

WHAT DO POLLINATORS DO?

Bees and other insects drink the sweet nectar of flowers. As they move between flowers, they transfer pollen which fertilises the plant, enabling it to produce fruit and seeds.

The Importance Of Pollinators

  • 76% of globally important commercial crops depend on insect pollination*118

  • Three quarters of food crops depend on pollinators*119

  • 1 in 3 mouthfuls of food depends on pollinators*120

  • Without pollinators we wouldn’t have potatoes, strawberries, tomatoes, coffee, chocolate or cotton*121

  • We get 90% of our Vitamin C, the majority of Vitamin A, folic acid, and lots of important antioxidants from plants that rely on animal pollination*122

  • The decline of pollinators is a threat to human nutrition*123

  • Bees are important pollinators but so are flies, beetles, moths, butterflies, wasps, ants, birds, and bats*1124

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WILDLIFE DECLINES

  • Over 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered*125

  • We are losing insects eight times faster than mammals, birds and reptiles*126

  • The world’s insects are being lost at 2.5% a year*127

  • A major global report states that insects could vanish within a century*128

  • Intensive farming is the main cause of insect decline - particularly the heavy use of pesticides*129

  • 41% of Britain’s wildlife species have declined since 1970 and more than one in ten are currently facing extinction. Intensive farming practices have been identified as the primary drivers of these declines*130

ORGANIC IS BETTER
FOR WILDLIFE

  • Organic farms are havens for wildlife and provide homes for bees, birds and butterflies. On average, plant, insect and bird life is 50% more abundant on organic farms*131

  • Organic farms are home to 30% more species of wildlife on average*132

  • Organic farming is better for bees*133 *134 More bees on organic farms*135 *136

  • There are up to 7 times more bees in organic grain fields*137

  • For every 10% increase in bee friendly habitats – like that found on organic farms – bee numbers and diversity increases by over a third*138

  • A small increase in bee-friendly organic habitat would boost bee numbers by a third*139

  • There are more wild bees on organic farms*140

  • There are around 75% more wild bees on organic farms*141

  • Organic farming can improve the numbers of bees found in habitats surrounding the farm*142

  • If pesticides were substituted for more sustainable farming practices (like organic), this could slow or reverse the decline in insects*143

  • Organic farms have around 50% more bees, butterflies and other pollinators*144

  • Organic farming is better for pollinating insects*145

  • Studies have found more wildflowers on organic farms*146 *147

  • Studies have found that organic farming improves pollination of flowers surrounding the farm*148 *149

  • Organic farms are more ecologically diverse*150 *151

  • Organic farms have a more diverse range of microbes living in the soil - this helps the crops to grow without artificial fertilisers*152 *153

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LIFE BELOW WATER

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  • Organic supports cleaner water for wildlife*154 *155 *156 *157  *158

  • Organic farming lowers the risk of pollution in rivers and waterways*159 *160 *161 *162  *163 

  • Fertilisers used in farming can create ‘ocean dead zones’ which deprive life below water of vital oxygen *164

  • The main cause of ‘ocean dead zones’ is nitrogen fertilisers *1635

  • Organic standards ban the use of manufactured nitrogen fertilisers *166

  • Manufactured nitrogen fertilisers are banned in organic farming *167

 

PLEASE NOTE: Claims which are based on the higher standards of the Soil Association are italicised and in bold and marked with the Soil Association organic symbol and they do not apply across all organic farming.

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REFERENCES

*118.Klein et al. (2007), Proc. Biol. Sci. 274, 303. In this review, the authors expanded previous estimates using novel primary data from 200 countries and found that fruit, vegetable or seed production from 87 of the leading global food crops is dependent upon animal pollination, while 28 crops do not rely upon animal pollination.

*119.Klein et al. (2007), Proc. Biol. Sci. 274, 303.

*120.Buchmann, S. L., and Nabhan, G.P. (1997) The Forgotten Pollinators [book], Island Press

*121.Wikipedia holds a list of crop plants pollinated by bees. Cocoa plants are pollinated by midges, as described in Young, A. (1994) The chocolate tree: a natural history of cocoa [book] Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington DC. Also summarised in this article by Smithsonian Magazine.

*122.Eilers et al. (2011) Contribution of Pollinator-Mediated Crops to Nutrients in the Human Food Supply, PLOS One 6(6): e21363.

*123.Eilers et al. (2011) Contribution of Pollinator-Mediated Crops to Nutrients in the Human Food Supply, PLOS One 6(6): e21363.

*124.Radar et al. (2016) Non-bee insects are important contributors to global crop pollination, PNAS, 113, (1), 146-151

*125.Sanchez-Bayo and Wyckhuys (2019) Worldwide decline of the entomofauna: A review of its drivers. Biological Conservation, 232, 8-27

*126.Sanchez-Bayo and Wyckhuys (2019) Worldwide decline of the entomofauna: A review of its drivers. Biological Conservation, 232, 8-27

*127.Sanchez-Bayo and Wyckhuys (2019) Worldwide decline of the entomofauna: A review of its drivers. Biological Conservation, 232, 8-27

*128.Sanchez-Bayo and Wyckhuys (2019) Worldwide decline of the entomofauna: A review of its drivers. Biological Conservation, 232, 8-27

*129.Sanchez-Bayo and Wyckhuys (2019) Worldwide decline of the entomofauna: A review of its drivers. Biological Conservation, 232, 8-27

*130.‘State of Nature 2019’ The State of Nature partnership, available online .

*131.Bengtsson, J., Ahnström, J., & Weibull, A. C. (2005 ‘The effects of organic agriculture on biodiversity and abundance: A meta-analysis’ Journal of Applied Ecology, 42(2), 261–269.

*132.Tuck, S. L., et al (2014) ‘Land-use intensity and the effects of organic farming on biodiversity: a hierarchical meta- analysis’, The Journal of Applied Ecology, 51(3), 746–755.

*133.Holzschuh A., Steffan-dewenter I., Kleijn D. & Tscharntke T. (2007) Diversity of flower-visiting bees in cereal fields: effects of farming system, landscape composition and regional context. Journal of Applied Ecology, 44, 41-49.

*134.Tuck, S. L., et al (2014) ‘Land-use intensity and the effects of organic farming on biodiversity: a hierarchical meta- analysis’, The Journal of Applied Ecology, 51(3), 746–755.

*135.Kennedy et al. (2013) A global quantitative synthesis of local and landscape effects on wild bee pollinators in agroecosystems. Ecology Letters. Vol: 16 pp. 584–599.

*136.Tuck, S. L., et al (2014) ‘Land-use intensity and the effects of organic farming on biodiversity: a hierarchical meta- analysis’, The Journal of Applied Ecology, 51(3), 746–755.

*137.Kennedy et al. (2013) A global quantitative synthesis of local and landscape effects on wild bee pollinators in agroecosystems. Ecology Letters. Vol: 16 pp. 584–599.

*138.Kennedy et al. (2013) A global quantitative synthesis of local and landscape effects on wild bee pollinators in agroecosystems. Ecology Letters. Vol: 16 pp. 584–599.

*139.Kennedy et al. (2013) A global quantitative synthesis of local and landscape effects on wild bee pollinators in agroecosystems. Ecology Letters. Vol: 16 pp. 584–599.

*140.Kennedy et al. (2013) A global quantitative synthesis of local and landscape effects on wild bee pollinators in agroecosystems. Ecology Letters. Vol: 16 pp. 584–599.

*141.Kennedy et al. (2013) A global quantitative synthesis of local and landscape effects on wild bee pollinators in agroecosystems. Ecology Letters. Vol: 16 pp. 584–599.

*142.Holzschuh et al. 2008, Agricultural landscapes with organic crops support higher pollinator diversity, OIKOS, 117, 3, 54-361

*143.Tuck et al, (2014) Land-use intensity and the effects of organic farming on biodiversity: a hierarchical meta- analysis’, Journal of Applied Ecology

*144.Tuck et al, (2014) Land-use intensity and the effects of organic farming on biodiversity: a hierarchical meta- analysis’, Journal of Applied Ecology

*145.Tuck et al, (2014) Land-use intensity and the effects of organic farming on biodiversity: a hierarchical meta- analysis’, Journal of Applied Ecology

*146.Batary P, Sutcliffe L, Dormann CF, Tscharntke T (2013) Organic Farming Favours Insect-Pollinated over Non-Insect Pollinated Forbs in Meadows and Wheat Fields. PLoS ONE 8(1): e54818.

*147.Hardman, C. (2016). ‘Delivery of floral resources and pollination services on farmland under three different wildlife-friendly schemes, Agric. Ecosyst. Environ., vol. 220, pp. 142–151, Mar. 2016, doi: 10.1016/j.agee.2016.01.015.

*148.Gabriel & Tscharntke (2006) Insect pollinated plants benefit from organic farming, Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 118, 1-4, 43-48

*149.Batary P, Sutcliffe L, Dormann CF, Tscharntke T (2013) Organic Farming Favours Insect-Pollinated over Non-Insect Pollinated Forbs in Meadows and Wheat Fields. PLoS ONE 8(1): e54818.

*150.Seufert, V. and Ramankutty, N. (2017) Many shades of gray— The context-dependent performance of organic agriculture. Science Advances, 3, 3

*151.Scialabba, N. and Muller-Lindenlauf (2010) Organic agriculture and climate change. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems: 25(2); 158–169

*152.Henneron, L et al. (2015) ‘Fourteen years of evidence for positive effects of conservation agriculture and organic farming on soil life’, Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 2015, 35:1 169 – 181 doi:10.1007/s13593-014-0215-8

153.Lori et al. (2017) Organic farming enhances soil microbial abundance and activity. A meta-analysis and meta- regression. PLoS ONE 12(7):e0180442

*154.Soil Association Organic Standards for Farming and Growing, Standard 2.5 and 2.6. Organic standards ban the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilisers commonly used in non-organic farming which are polluting and/or toxic to the environment, wildlife and/or human health. These standards refer to legal requirements of organic farming European law. In addition, leaching of nutrients has been found to be lower in organic systems. A diagram which explains the differing Nitrogen cycles in organic and non-organic farming can be found in Reganold and Wachter (2016). Organic Agriculture in the Twenty First Century. Nature Plants, 2, 15221, Figure 3

*155.Haas, G., Berg, M., Kopke, U. (2002) Nitrate leaching: comparing conventional, integrated and organic agricultural production systems. Agricultural Effects on Ground and Surface Waters: Research at the Edge of Science and Society, 131

*156.Pandey et al. (2018) Nitrogen balances in organic and conventional arable crop rotations and their relations to nitrogen yield and nitrate leaching losses. Agriculture,

Ecosystems and Environment, 265, 350-362

*157.Sanders, J. and Heß, J. (2019) Thünen Report 65: Leistungen des ökologischen Landbaus für Umwelt und Gesellschaf, überarbeitete und ergänzte Auflage. A literature review of 528 studies with 2,816 pair comparisons of organic and conventional temperate farming analysed in terms of mean differences.

*158.Cambardella, C. A., Delate, K. and Jaynes, D. B. (2015) ‘Water quality in organic systems’, Sustainable Agriculture Research, 4(3), 60-69 The USDA-ARS Organic Water Quality experiment compared organic and conventional crop rotations and an organic pasture in Midwestern USA and found N losses nearly twice as much from the conventional system.

*159.Soil Association Organic Standards for Farming and Growing, Standard 2.5 and 2.6. Organic standards ban the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilisers commonly used in non-organic farming which are polluting and/or toxic to the environment, wildlife and/or human health. These standards refer to legal requirements of organic farming European law.

In addition, leaching of nutrients has been found to be lower in organic systems. A diagram which explains the differing Nitrogen cycles in organic and non-organic farming can be found in Reganold and Wachter (2016). Organic Agriculture in the Twenty First Century. Nature Plants, 2, 15221, Figure 3

*160.Haas, G., Berg, M., Kopke, U. (2002) Nitrate leaching: comparing conventional, integrated and organic agricultural production systems. Agricultural Effects on Ground and Surface Waters: Research at the Edge of Science and Society, 131

*161.Pandey et al. (2018) Nitrogen balances in organic and conventional arable crop rotations and their relations to nitrogen yield and nitrate leaching losses. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 265, 350-362

*162.Sanders, J. and Heß, J. (2019) Thünen Report 65: Leistungen des ökologischen Landbaus für Umwelt und Gesellschaf, überarbeitete und ergänzte Auflage. A literature review of 528 studies with 2,816 pair comparisons of organic and conventional temperate farming analysed in terms of mean differences.

*163.Cambardella, C. A., Delate, K. and Jaynes, D. B. (2015) ‘Water quality in organic systems’, Sustainable Agriculture Research, 4(3), 60-69 The USDA-ARS Organic Water Quality experiment compared organic and conventional crop rotations and an organic pasture in Midwestern USA and found N losses nearly twice as much from the conventional system.

*164.Diaz, R. J. and Rosenberg, R. (2008) Spreading Dead Zones and Consequences for Marine Ecosystems, Science, 321, 5891

*165.Diaz, R. J. and Rosenberg, R. (2008) Spreading Dead Zones and Consequences for Marine Ecosystems, Science, 321, 5891

*166.Soil Association Standards for Farming & Growing v. Jan 2020. Standard 2.4.1 The EU regulation 832/2007 Article 12 1 (e) says that ‘mineral fertiliser shall not be used’.

*167.Soil Association Standards for Farming & Growing v. Jan 2020. Standard 2.4.1

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