Biodiversity, Food and Farming for a Healthy Planet

Can farming affect biodiversity?

Some industrial farms mass-produce a few select breeds in their quest to produce more meat, milk or eggs. This practice, however, leads to a decline in livestock diversity. The same principle applies to crops. As the number of varieties decreases, existing crops become increasingly at risk to destruction by disease and pests. If crops are all identical, it is much easier for a new disease or pest to wipe out an entire harvest. The less diversity farmers maintain, the greater the risk of diseases and pests. This increase in risk means farmers apply more pesticides to the crop fields or administer antibiotics to the animals.

If farmers are careful and manage resources sustainably, they can help preserve biodiversity and the environment. Many farmers around the world use sustainable farming and organic or ecological farming methods. One method is to grow two or more crops in the same field. This helps the farmer reduce crop pests while using fewer pesticides. Another method is to avoid applying pesticides on rainy or windy days so less pesticide will enter waterways causing pollution or get blown away.