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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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Convert to organic farming Bat Conservation

In a replicated, paired, site comparison study in summer 2002 and 2003 on 65 pairs of farms in England, UK  (Fuller et al 2005) significantly more bat passes were recorded on organic farms than non-organic farms (abundance index 6–75% higher). Significantly more species were also recorded on organic farms (species density 8–65% higher). Organic farms of at least 30 ha of arable land were paired with nearby non-organic farms matched by crop type and cropping season. Bat surveys using bat detectors were conducted along 3 km triangular transects starting in a randomly chosen field on each farm between June and August on both years. Habitat data collected at all sites showed that organic farms had a higher density of hedgerows, a greater proportion of grassland than cropped cover, smaller fields and wider and taller hedgerows with fewer gaps than non-organic farms. The study looked at a variety of taxa and details about the levels of bat activity and bat species recorded are not given.