Promotion of organic farming

Promotion of organic farming
Landscape elements enhance biological diversity. © Jan Freese/ pixelio.de

Involved sectors

Agriculture

Affected habitats

Grassland, Arable land

Description

Many endangered species of fauna and flora are dependent on agricultural habitats, so in terms of conserving biological diversity, extensivisation of agricultural use should be the aim on ecologically significant areas. In this context, organic farming has an extremely important role to play, one reason being that it avoids and reduces the environmental stresses which can otherwise arise in farming. Furthermore, the targeted creation of landscape elements (ecological compensation areas such as hedgerows, fallow areas, forest strips and extensive meadows) make an important contribution to the promotion of biological diversity. These areas are also important elements of a biotope network.

Impact

Impact in particular on Small mammals, Reptiles, Amphibians, Birds, Insects
Ecological impact  
Improvement or preservation of habitats Extensively managed spaces are important habitats for a wide range of species and act as buffer zones in an intensively farmed landscape.
Element of ecological network Extensive areas are important elements of the biotope network. The impact is increased if individual areas are integrated into an network of extensively used margins and scattered dry meadows.
Other Positive impact on soils and the hydrological regime.
Time of realisation for measure Years: A positive impact can already be achieved after the implementation of individual measures (e.g. creation of hedge structures); a longer period is required for full conversion to organic farming, however.
Impact scope Local (municipality): Tends to be localised, as individual organic farms are scattered across the countryside. With a larger-scale approach and the incorporation of other structures, the connectivity impact increases accordingly.

Implementation

Implementation period Years: The length of time required for conversion to organic farming depends, among other things, on operating structures. As a rule, at least 12 months must elapse until produce can be marketed as organic.
Frequency Recurring

Economic and legal aspects

Costs Medium (10'000-100'000 EUR): Conversion is extremely cost-intensive (additional equipment, more space, etc.). Exact costs are highly dependent on operating structures.
Socio-economic impacts Medium: From a long-term perspective, positive effects through financial support and greater security of sales. Good marketing strategies are key.
Sources of financing Public: local, Public: regional, Public: national, Public: European
Legal situation Organic farming and conversion can be subsidised from countryside management/cultural landscape programmes (generally approx. € 200-500/ha p.a.).

Further information

Evaluation The positive impact of organic farming on the natural environment and landscape is recognised and backed by numerous studies. This demonstrates the importance of organically farmed areas as elements of the biotope network. Information about conversion and funding opportunities can be obtained from the relevant ministries, authorities and growers' associations.
Information Germany: Organic farming in Rhön: Innovative example of how to ensure sales: http://www.bionade.com/bionade.php/10_de/12_projekte/01_biolandbau?usid=49aff28dacd8749aff28dad54f

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