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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Benefits of organic farming to biodiversity vary among taxa

Published source details

Fuller R.J., Norton L.R., Feber R.E., Johnson P.J., Chamberlain D.E., Joys A.C., Mathews F., Stuart R.C., Townsend M.C., Manley W.J., Wolfe M.S., Macdonald D.W. & Firbank L.G. (2005) Benefits of organic farming to biodiversity vary among taxa. Biology Letters, 1, 431-434


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Use organic farming instead of conventional farming Bat Conservation

A replicated, paired sites study in 2002–2003 on 65 pairs of farms in England, UK (Fuller et al 2005) found that organic farms had higher bat activity and a greater number of bat species than conventional farms. Significantly more bat passes and more bat species were recorded on organic farms than conventional farms (abundance index 6–75% higher on organic farms; species density 8–65% higher). Organic farms with >30 ha of arable land were paired with nearby conventional farms matched by crop type and cropping season. Habitat data collected across all 130 farms showed that organic farms had a higher density of hedgerows, a greater proportion of grassland than crops, smaller fields and wider, taller hedgerows with fewer gaps than conventional farms. Each of 130 farms was surveyed using bat detectors along a 3 km triangular transect in June–August in 2002 and 2003.