Changing the future of food and farming

Meeting–Functional biodiversity on organic farm

Event Date : May 17, 2011

Venue: The Organic Research Centre, Elm Farm, Hamstead Marshall, Newbury, Berkshire, RG20 0HR.

The role and potential of organic farming in delivering functional biodiversity and ecosystem services

Agroecological systems, including organic agriculture and agroforestry, are designed and managed to integrate biodiversity into the production system. This is based on the assumption that increasing the level of planned biodiversity within the farming system is also likely to increase the associated ‘wild’ biodiversity, with positive impacts on the ecosystem services they deliver such as pollination, pest control and soil fertility. Diversity can be introduced at every level of the system; at the species level by moving away from pure-bred lines towards composite cross populations, to the field-scale where intercropping builds on synergies between two or more species (and weeds are regulated rather than controlled), to the farm- and landscape-scale where temporal and spatial heterogeneity can be increased through rotations, mixed farming and agroforestry. This meeting will consider the value of this functional biodiversity approach to protecting and enhancing farmland biodiversity and associated ecosystem services.

Provisional programme:
9.15 Registration, tea and coffee, put up posters
9.45 Welcome and Introduction (Nic Lampkin, ORC)
10.00 Sustainable agriculture is in our nature (Martin Wolfe, Wakelyns Agroforestry)
10.30 Landscape differences between organic and conventional farms (Lisa Norton, CEH)
10.50 Coffee
11.20 Biodiversity impacts of organic farming: the evidence (Jo Smith, ORC)
11.40 Biodiversity benefits of diverse leys (Rob Brown, University of Reading)
12.00 Permaculture design principles – evidence and research questions (Andy Goldring, Permaculture Association)
12.20 Ecological economics of organic farming systems (speaker tbc)
12.40 Discussion session
1.15 Lunch and view poster papers
2.00 Farm visit
5.30 Return to Elm Farm

Registration £25 to include lunch and farm visit. Deadline for registration 12th May. Click here for a registration form. We invite poster presentations – please send poster abstracts to jo.s@organicresearchcentre.com.

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