The increasing evidence that organic farming has benefits for biodiversity and the delivery of ecosystem services was under the spotlight at a recent joint meeting of the Organic Research Centre (ORC) and the British Ecological Society (BES).
The event, held on Tuesday 17th May 2011 at the Organic Research Centre near Newbury brought together leading scientists, policy makers, farmers and NGOs to discuss the role of organic farming in delivering biodiversity and a wide range of other ecosystem services within a productive UK farming sector.
At the heart of this meeting was a discussion of the critical issues around sustainable farming and land-use including apparent trade-offs between different demands on land, such as food production, biodiversity and other ecosystem services.
Speakers included Prof. Martin Wolfe (ORC/Wakelyns Agroforestry), Dr Lisa Norton (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology), Dr Jo Smith (ORC), Rob Brown (University of Reading) and Andy Goldring (Permaculture Association). They covered agro-ecological approaches to sustainable agriculture, the effects of organic farming at a landscape level and the evidence on the biodiversity benefits of organic farming.
Delegates had the opportunity to see innovative examples of organic farms demonstrating the delivery of a range of ecosystem services through visits to Sheepdrove Organic Farm and Tolhurst Organic Produce.
Commenting on the event Prof. Nicolas Lampkin (Director, ORC) said:
“The evidence being presented today will show that organic farming has a clear role to play in supporting biodiversity and a sustainable future for UK farming. There is an increasing wealth of evidence that organic/agro-ecological farming approaches can and do deliver a wide range of ecosystem services, including food, in a joined up way”.
Abstracts and pdf’s of the presentations and posters are available on the links below –