There is currently considerable interest in organic farming as a method to deliver environmental goods. This review was therefore undertaken to assess the likely benefits to the wider environment from organic practices. On the basis of the published scientific evidence, we have concluded the following:
Biodiversity: Comparative reviews of the evidence base have been conducted for MAFF, English Nature, The European Commission and the Soil Association. The general conclusion is that, on average, there is a positive benefit to wildlife conservation on organic farms.
In most studies, organic agriculture provides a conservation benefit, whereas there are few studies where a disbenefit is shown. While some of the practices that favour biodiversity are used on some conventional farms, it is only generally on organic farms where most of the relevant management is routinely and systematically carried out. Both organic and conventional farms will perform better when under agri-environmental schemes.