This chart lays out a progression of activities that increasingly support biodiversity and the benefits it provides to the farm. Each farm has a unique set of circumstances and will begin at different places in the continuum, depending on its need and capacity for supporting nature. Whether the need is for building better soil health and clean water, ensuring more complete pollination and effective pest control, or enhancing habitat for wildlife, the farm can start with small steps or take big strides to integrate biodiversity.
Biodiversity is the variety of life. What does this have to do with a farm? Agriculture that provides natural habitat can support pollination and pest control, protect water quality, meet the needs of multiple species, and make a meaningful contribution to wild Nature. On most farms, opportunities exist to accommodate the needs of local species with only minor changes to farming practices. Many farmers are already contributing to biodiversity by some of their activities.
The Wild Farm Alliance Briefing Papers series explores many of the issues that define and distinguish the concept of farming with the wild. Each paper focuses on a particular issue set in the context of reconnecting food systems with ecosystems. With these papers, we are striving to bridge the gap between stewardship farming and wildlands conservation.
The goal of this guide is to increase the use of organic farming systems, and to help farmers and ranchers comply with the NOP Rule. The guide draws on the knowledge and experience of organic farmers, certifiers, and conservationists, as well as current research and literature, to lay out a range of farming possibilities for a variety of situations that maintain and enhance biodiversity at the farm level and contribute to biodiversity conservation outside the farm’s borders at the regional or watershed level.
The goal of this guide is to increase and unify organic certifiers’ and farm inspectors’ understanding of organic standards that conserve biodiversity and the natural resources of organic farming systems. By providing indicators of biodiversity compliance and non-compliance, the guide makes it easier for inspectors to verify, evaluate, and inform the applicant of compliance requirements and to communicate to a certifying agency the farming practices that are contributing to, or degrading, biodiversity conservation.
The Preamble to the National Organic Program rule states "Compliance with the requirements to conserve biodiversity requires that a producer incorporate practices in his or her organic system plan that are beneficial to biodiversity on his or her operation." This document was created in 2009 to assist farmers and certifiers in assessing compliance. A quick one-page overview examines the most problematic biodiversity issues, while the rest of the document provides a slate of beneficial practices that comply with the rule.
Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Technical Service Providers can assist operators in meeting these NOP requirements. Specifically, NRCS' Conservation Activity Plan (CAP) 138 helps operators who are transitioning to organic production.
Webinar: Linking Biodiversity Requirements, Organic Systems, and NRCS Conservation Practice Standards
The NOP requires biodiversity conservation and the maintenance or improvement of soil, water, wetlands, woodlands, and wildlife. Conservation Practice Standards offered by Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) can assist operators in meeting these NOP requirements. In this webinar, conservation practice standards that improve soil and water resources, support beneficial organisms and natural functions, and protect and restore wildlife habitat are discussed. Also presented are real life examples of these practices used by an organic farmer on his operations.
International Organic Inspector’s Association (IOIA) and Wild Farm Alliance have pooled resources to work on the “Organic Biodiversity Conservation Education” project. We will specifically provide organic professional training on the natural resources and biodiversity standard. This educational endeavor is designed to make biodiversity conservation a foundational principal in organic agriculture inspections.