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Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems
38, No. 2, 2014; Pages: 243-261

Effect on Habitat Diversity of Organic Conversion Within the Less Favored Areas of England and Wales

M. D. Fraser, J. E. Vale & L. G. Firbank

Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences , Aberystwyth University , Gogerddan , Aberystwyth , UK.


The extent to which conversion to organic farming influenced habitat diversity within less favored areas (LFAs) was determined. Similar numbers of conventional (not converted) (n=16), recent converts (<5 years; n=13) and long-standing converts (>5 years; n=16) were surveyed. Each holding was characterized in terms of habitat classes using a rapid ground survey. Conversion toorganic farming had little effect on overall habitat diversity. This could be linked to the physical challenges of farming in LFAs limiting management options. The results highlight the need for a separate evidence base for the development of policies relating to farming and biodiversity in marginal areas.

Keywords:conservation; upland; priority habitat; species diversity; organic farming.



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