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Gains to species diversity in organically farmed fields are not propagated at the farm level

Manuel K. Schneider 1 Gisela Lüscher 1 Philippe Jeanneret 1 Michaela Arndorfer 2 Youssef Ammari 3 Debra Bailey 1 Katalin Balazs 4 Andras Baldi 5 Jean Philippe J. P. Choisis 6 Peter Dennis 7 Sebastian Eiter 8 Wendy Fjellstad 8 Mariecia D. Fraser 7 Thomas Frank 2 Jürgen K. Friedel 2 Salah Garchi 3 Ilse R. Geijzendorffer 9 Tiziano Gomiero 10 - Gonzalez-Bornay 11 A. Hector 12 Gergely Jerkovich 13 Rob H.G. Jongman 9 Esezah Kakudidi 14 Max Kainz 15 Aniko Kovacs-Hostyanszki 5 Gerardo Moreno 16 Charles Nkwiine 17 Julius Opio 17 Marie-Louise Oschatz 2 Maurizio G Paoletti 18 Philippe Pointereau 19 Fernando J. Pulido 16 Jean-Pierre J.-P. Sarthou 20, 20 Norman Siebrecht 15 Daniele Sommaggio 18 Lindsay A. Turnbull 12 Sebastian Wolfrum 15 Felix Herzog 1 
Abstract : Organic farming is promoted to reduce environmental impacts of agriculture, but surprisingly little is known about its effects at the farm level, the primary unit of decision making. Here we report the effects of organic farming on species diversity at the field, farm and regional levels by sampling plants, earthworms, spiders and bees in 1470 fields of 205 randomly selected organic and nonorganic farms in twelve European and African regions. Species richness is, on average, 10.5% higher in organic than nonorganic production fields, with highest gains in intensive arable fields (around +45%). Gains to species richness are partly caused by higher organism abundance and are common in plants and bees but intermittent in earthworms and spiders. Average gains are marginal +4.6% at the farm and +3.1% at the regional level, even in intensive arable regions. Additional, targeted measures are therefore needed to fulfil the commitment of organic farming to benefit farmland biodiversity.
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Manuel K. Schneider, Gisela Lüscher, Philippe Jeanneret, Michaela Arndorfer, Youssef Ammari, et al.. Gains to species diversity in organically farmed fields are not propagated at the farm level. Nature Communications, Nature Publishing Group, 2014, 5, pp.Online. ⟨10.1038/ncomms5151⟩. ⟨hal-02639230⟩

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