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Trands in Ecology & Evoluations
Volume 36 (10),2021, Pages 919-930

Beyond organic farming – harnessing biodiversity-friendly landscapes

Teja Tscharntke1, Ingo Grass2, etl.,

Agroecology, University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany.


We challenge the widespread appraisal that organic farming is the fundamental alternative to conventional farming for harnessing biodiversity in agricultural landscapes. Certification of organic production is largely restricted to banning synthetic agrochemicals, resulting in limited benefits for biodiversity but high yield losses despite ongoing intensification and specialisation. In contrast, successful agricultural measures to enhance biodiversity include diversifying cropland and reducing field size, which can multiply biodiversity while sustaining high yields in both conventional and organic systems. Achieving a landscape-level mosaic of natural habitat patches and fine-grained cropland diversification in both conventional and organic agriculture is key for promoting large-scale biodiversity. This needs to be urgently acknowledged by policy makers for an agricultural paradigm shift.

Keywords: agricultural paradigm shift, biodiversity conservation, cropland diversification, field size, landscape heterogeneity, sustainable agriculture.

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