Klaus Kirsch

The Benefits of Biodiversity for Farms

With the world population predicted to grow by three billion by 2050, a reliable food supply is more important than ever. Key to achieving this dependable food production is combining holistic, scalable and sustainable agricultural practices – including increasing and respecting biodiversity.

"Protecting the wild species that occur naturally in an agricultural area, such as my vineyard, is a priority because it is nature that can help me make my wine increasingly better!" says farmer Nuncio Giovanni Capurso of vineyard Azienda Agricola Moranda in Italy, part of the ForwardFarming global network.

For Capurso, preserving biodiversity is of vital importance, as it allows the mutually beneficial balance and the coexistence of man, plants and animals.

Below are amazing examples of biodiversity and sustainable practices on farms in Europe, South America and the United States.

Insect Hotels

Like their honey bee counterparts, insect pollinators are essential for the pollination of flowers. To safeguard their existence, it is important to create habitats that are not only safe, but also near ample food sources. From farmer Oli Fiorese's Nossa Senhora Aparecida Farm, in Brazil; to Azienda Agricola Moranda, in Italy, ForwardFarms demonstrate how employing insect hotels and nesting aids can increase biodiversity and encourage pollinator activity on their farms. Brothers Jan and Josse Peeters of ForwardFarm Hof ten Bosch in Belgium even created unique bee hotels for both solitary and wild species!

Klaus Kirsch
Klaus Kirsch
Dr. Klaus Kirsch,
Global Manager, Bayer ForwardFarming

Flowering Strips and Field Margins

You may not expect to see an abundance of flowers among and on the margins of production farm fields, but that's exactly what you'll find on many farms in the ForwardFarming network. Together with herbaceous plants, flowering strips offer pollinators and other insects an important source of food and shelter. “We need the bees for our crops, and the beekeepers need our fields as a source of food for their colonies. So, we work hand-in-hand,” says farmer Dirk Peters of Agro-Farm Gmbh Nauen, in Germany. Planting of flower strips for feeding and proliferation of pollinators and other beneficial organisms is also part of ForwardFarming practices from La Hornilla – Fundo Santa Inés, in Chile, to Het Groene Hart, in the Netherlands.

Farmer Trey Hill's Harborview Farm, in the United States, borders the Chesapeake Bay, which is home to approximately 2,700 plant and animal species. His cover crops program and nearly 500 acres dedicated to conservation, especially along the Bay, help to improve soil quality, increase biodiversity, and reduce soil loss and nutrient movement into the Bay. "I am an environmentalist!" says Hill.

Protecting the wild species that occur naturally in an agricultural area, such as my vineyard, is a priority.

Farmer Nuncio Giovanni Capurso of vineyard Azienda Agricola Moranda, in Italy

Bird Habitats

"We explain to farmers and other interested visitors how you can promote biodiversity at this site," says farmer Bernd Olligs of Damianshof, in Germany. "This includes, for instance, flowering strips, skylark plots, beetle banks, shrub gardens as well as nesting boxes for bees, owls and songbirds." In North Rhine-Westphalia, the skylark is on the red list of endangered animals; but at Damianshof, Olligs' Skylark Plot conservation project is creating non-cropped areas in cereal fields that serve as landing areas and nest-building sites to help the songbird once again thrive. Birds are also a top priority at Earl des Bruyères farm, in France, where farmers Stéphane Peillet and Laurent Bernoux help protect the local species, Œdicnème Criard, by creating nesting spaces in the farm’s corn plots.

Learn more about ForwardFarming!

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Thriving for Change - Championing Agriculture for a New Generation