Changes in agriculture can protect the world’s biodiversity - 6 Jun 2010  
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According to Puerto Rican ecology and natural resources professor Dr. Ivette Perfecto from the University of Michigan, farmers could benefit while helping to save the planet from turning to organic farming and agroecology, or working along nature’s principles to produce food.

In her research, Dr. Perfecto observed that large crop agricultural landscapes, such as coffee farms in Costa Rica, are able to host diverse and healthy wildlife. In contrast, isolated patches of rainforest or nature preserves are not able to sustain even the reduced number of species living there.

Her studies concluded that small-scale farmers and their organic or agroecological methods, the latter of which minimize the use of fertilizers and do not use pesticides, could therefore protect biodiversity – with farmers benefiting from greater yields.

She stated, 『A variety of studies have shown convincingly that organic agriculture is at least as productive as industrial agriculture, and according to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) data, the smaller the farm the more productivity.

In other words, if you want to increase production the most efficient way to do so is to break up the mega farms, distribute the land to small-scale farmers and provide training in agroecology.』 Dr. Perfecto recently co-authored a book on the solution titled, 『Nature’s Matrix: Linking Agriculture, Conservation and Food Sovereignty』 in which she cites the rapid deforestation of the Amazon rainforest in emphasizing the need to shift toward small-scale organic farming.

According to related research by Dr. Lester Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute, the Amazon is being cleared both by cattle ranching and soybean farming, with soybean crops for cattle feed causing both crop fields and grazing lands to extend even deeper into the forest.

Dr. Brown states that the key to protecting the rainforest’s biodiversity is to decrease consumers’ demand for meat products and their associated soy crops.

Our appreciation, Dr. Perfecto, for these insights into a more efficient and sustainable agriculture sector, as we thank Dr. Brown for addressing the issue’s root cause.

Let us step in awareness to nourish  the world through the most eco-conscious and plentiful method of organic vegan farming. As in an interview published in the September 2009 edition of The House Magazine, Supreme Master Ching Hai has frequently highlighted the transformation of our agricultural system that would return balance to our imperiled planet.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: There are so many benefits from organic vegan farming, as well as many benefiting parties. First, for the farmers, organic vegan farming is productive, saving 37% more energy and even more water than conventional farming methods.

Wildlife and ecosystems also win. According to the largest study done on organic farming in the UK compared to conventional farms, organic farms contained 85% more plant species, with 71% taller and thicker hedges, and a healthy return of native animals across the species.

Organic soil matter also absorbs CO2 so effectively that the Rodale Institute calls organic vegan farming a powerful strategy to reduce global warming, by up to 40% of all CO2 emissions now in the atmosphere.

The government can support this organic vegan farming through subsidies. They can also redirect the funds away from the meat industry and instead toward encouraging citizens to plant, to buy and to choose organic vegan food. And when they do, we will soon have a lot of healthy, happy, productive people,
a restored green environment, and minimum climate mitigation costs – something all governments can look forward to and gain the enthusiastic support of all citizens.