IFOAM slams European Commission over lack of restoration targets for agricultural ecosystems
22 May 2023 --- Biodiversity protection and well-functioning ecosystems are essential for food production. The organic movement calls on MEPs to support ambitious nature restoration on agricultural land as well as preserved natural resources claiming they are crucial for sustainable agricultural production.
According to IFOAM, biodiversity in the EU has decreased drastically, with pollinators in severe decline, birds disappearing and deterioration of soil health.
They claim that intensive agriculture is one of the main drivers of biodiversity loss.
Biodiversity crucial for farming systems
Biodiversity, however, is an essential basis for the functioning of many ecosystem processes and functions. It is crucial for natural pest control, pollination and it is necessary to succeed in climate protection and adaptation to environmental stressors.
“Biodiversity and healthy ecosystems are essential for the productivity of farming systems. It is urgently necessary to reverse the accelerating biodiversity loss and start restoring nature,” Eric Gall, IFOAM Organics Europe’s Policy Manager, says.
“Organic farming shows that it is possible to produce nutritious and sufficient food while preserving biodiversity, storing carbon in soils and making our food production more resilient to the increasing impacts of climate change,” Gall adds.
Organic farmers refrain from using synthetic pesticides and fertilizers and have, on average, 30% more biodiversity on the farm. Longer and more diverse crop rotations with leguminous are essential to the organic farming system to ensure soil fertility and contribute to soil health.
Together with other beneficial management practices such as cover crops and manure application, crop rotations increase soil organic carbon sequestration on organic farms.
Intercropping is another powerful technique to bring nitrogen to the soil and protect it from erosion, improving soil water retention capacity, which is essential as droughts and floods become more frequent because of climate change.
Land-based livestock systems with grazing and lower stocking rates also support biodiversity in grassland.
Supporting organic farming and moving toward the target of 25% agricultural land under organic management by 2030 can therefore contribute to bringing back nature to the fields.
To ensure long-term food security in Europe and beyond, policymakers must help farmers preserve the natural capital on which we depend to produce food and should not be lured by misguided calls to weaken environmental legislation.
IFOAM Organics Europe, therefore, calls on MEPs to support a Nature Restoration Law with ambitious targets for agricultural ecosystems.
Edited by Gaynor Selby
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