Biodiversity encompasses the diversity of species on Earth, including plants, animals, insects, and microorganisms, which are essential for maintaining crucial ecosystem services such as nutrient cycling. Unfortunately, biodiversity is in decline, with global species populations decreasing significantly since 1970.*
The link between biodiversity and agriculture is explored, highlighting how conventional farming practices can contribute to biodiversity loss due to land conversion, intensive management, and chemical inputs. However, agriculture also depends on ecosystem services provided by biodiversity, such as pollination and soil health.
The document identifies key components for enhancing biodiversity on farmland, emphasising the importance of diverse landscapes, shelters for species, sufficient food supply, crop diversity, reduced chemical inputs, and habitat connectivity. It also suggests various farming practices to support biodiversity, including adding organic matter to soils, creating flower-rich field margins, reducing pesticide use, and adjusting grazing levels, among others.
The Cool Farm Tool is introduced as a valuable resource for assessing and improving farm management practices that support biodiversity. It awards points for wildlife-friendly actions and allows farms to set biodiversity objectives. The scoring is evidence-based and supported by scientific research, with the tool helping users measure their baseline impact on biodiversity and identify areas for improvement.
Finally, the document encourages farmers to seek advice from local ecologists or agronomists and provides additional resources for further information on enhancing biodiversity in farming practices. It emphasises the importance of collaborative efforts to promote sustainable agriculture and protect biodiversity.
This guidance note serves as a valuable resource for farmers and interested parties who are curious in adopting nature-friendly practices to safeguard biodiversity in agricultural landscapes.