biodiversity Tag

An international team of scientists evaluated the next generation of UN biodiversity targets, set to be adopted at the UN Biodiversity Conference in Kunming, China, this autumn, to assess whether they can also slow climate change. In a review study for Global Change Biology, the authors found that 14 out of 21 (i.e., two-thirds) of all targets are making a positive contribution to climate protection. "It turns out that conservation measures that halt, slow, or reverse the loss of biodiversity can greatly slow human-induced climate change at the same time", says lead author Dr. Yunne-Jai Shin. ...

A study published in Nature by University College London compared insect biodiversity in different areas depending on how intensive agriculture is in the area, as well as how much historic climate warming the local area has experienced. Researchers found that in areas with high-intensity agriculture and substantial climate warming, the number of insects was 49% lower than in the most natural habitats with no recorded climate warming, while the number of different species was 29% lower. In areas of low-intensity agriculture and substantial climate warming, having nearby natural habitat buffered the losses: where 75% of the land was covered by...

Related ATTRA publication: Alternative Pollinators: Native Bees Research by Oregon State University is shedding light on the diversity and habits of native bees, reports the Capital Press. Understanding where bees occur and what plants they interact with can provide farmers with insight about how to support native bee populations, which can lead to improved pollination for farmers, as well as greater biodiversity on farms. Trained volunteers have helped compile the Oregon Bee Atlas, to provide a better understanding of the bee species in the state which flowers they visit. ...

Farmers, ranchers, and researchers have come to understand that the functionality of ecosystems on farms is largely dependent on plant and animal biodiversity. Functional ecological processes and services are facilitated by biology, necessitating maintenance of biological integrity and diversity in agroecosystems.
By Lee Rinehart, NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist ...

Years of farming and visiting other farms, combined with recent education in soil health, have convinced me of this: We can best serve people, the land, and the livestock by learning to care for the soil FIRST. That’s why NCAT’s Livestock and Grazing Team began with this foundation when they gathered to teach a three-part series for beginning livestock producers. 
By Linda Coffey, NCAT Livestock Specialist...

Related ATTRA publication: Beneficial and Pest Birds: Vertebrate IPM Tip Sheet Research from the University of California, Davis, found that wild birds may not pose the food safety risk once suspected. Researchers found that starlings and other birds that flock on the ground near cattle are more likely to spread pathogenic bacteria to crops like lettuce, spinach, and broccoli, while insect-eating species are less likely to carry pathogens. Researchers compiled more than 11,000 bacteria tests of wild bird feces and found that Campylobacter in 8% of samples. Meanwhhile, pathogenic E. Coli and Salmonella were only found in less than 0.5% of the...

Kenzo Esquivel and Patrick Baur wrote in a National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition blog about their recent study of farmers who prioritize biodiversity on-farm. They found that larger farms that sell to wholesale markets often experience barriers to diversifying, while small, limited-resource farms frequently lack the means to diversify. Mid-scale farms have the highest rate of adoption for diversification practices, according to this study. The researchers noted that mid-scale farmers also enjoyed secure land tenure and access to capital and resources that facilitated diversification, as well as relationships with buyers. All of these assets contributed to mid-scale farmers' ability to invest...

The University of British Columbia released results of a study on how different farming indicators impact the diversity of local birds in the farmland bordering the former Iron Curtain in Germany. A sharp difference in farm sizes exists along the former border, allowing for comparisons of the effect of smaller and larger agricultural landscapes and land uses. Researchers found that increased farm sizes resulted in a 15% decline in bird diversity. "Providing a mix of different crop type and other land uses such as forests and grassland within the agricultural landscape is crucial for biodiversity conservation and can mitigate the...

“Kill two birds with one stone” — isn't it time this old adage got an update? Instead of killing two birds with one stone, why don't we save two birds with one hedgerow? And protect soil from erosion while we're at it? And protect plants from wind damage, too? And do a bunch of other great things that benefit humans, animals, and the environment?
By Katherine Favor, NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist...

In this episode of Voices from the Field, NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist Katherine Favor heads to Terranova Ranch in the central San Joaquin Valley of California to talk about conservation hedgerows with Don Cameron, the ranch’s general manager and vice president.
NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist Katherine Favor and Don Cameron, General Manager of Terranova Ranch...

A methodology developed by the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, the Varietal Threat Index, proposes a systematic way to monitor changes in varietal diversity on farm, between areas, and over time. The approach uses a rapid assessment technique to gather farmer knowledge about local agrobiodiversity, combined with a four-cell assessment method to identify and calculate the level of threat for each crop and variety reported, including both farmer and improved varieties. A study in India that involved 600 farmers identified significant diversity among landrace crops, but it also revealed that 76% or more of landraces were reported as vulnerable,...

A project in New Zealand is releasing a series of 20 reports in November, each providing recommendations for how claims regarding specific possible benefits of regenerative agriculture could be tested in Aotearoa New Zealand. The report releases are accompanied by a webinar series. A group of four reports released last week focused on approaches to test whether regenerative agriculture can offer 'nature-based' solutions for climate change. Three more reports just released focus on regenerative agriculture's impact on animal welfare and biodiversity. The first of these reports says that regenerative farming practices could increase native biodiversity on New Zealand farms. The...