Study Shows Natural Biodiversity Protects Farmer Income from Weather Shocks

An international research team including a University of British Columbia assistant professor found that farmers in areas with greater biodiversity took less of an income hit from droughts than their peers who farmed amid less biodiversity. The study covered more than 7,500 households across 23 tropical countries. The team also highlighted the importance of biodiversity conservation, projecting that loss of half of the species within a region would double the impact of weather extremes on farmer income and, consequently, that conservation of natural biodiversity could play an important role in alleviating poverty for rural households. Although study results clearly link natural biodiversity to income stabilization during adverse weather, this study didn’t identify the mechanisms that form the link. Authors suggest the effect could stem from having multiple alternative pollinators and numerous beneficial insects.