Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Organic Farms Not Necessarily Better for Environment

Published: Friday, September 07, 2012
Last Updated: Friday, September 07, 2012
Bookmark and Share
Organic farming is generally good for wildlife but does not necessarily have lower overall environmental impacts than conventional farming, a new analysis has shown.

The researchers analysed data from 71 studies published in peer-reviewed journals that compared organic and conventional farms in Europe.

This literature revealed that whilst organic farming almost always supports more biodiversity and generally has a positive wider environmental impact per unit of land, it does not necessarily have a positive impact per unit of production.

Organic milk, cereals, and pork all generated higher greenhouse gas emissions per unit of product than their conventionally farmed counterparts – although organic beef and olives had lower emissions in most cases. In general organic products required less energy input, but more land than the same quantity of conventional products.

In terms of biodiversity, generally organic farms had 30% higher species richness than conventional farms but a minority of studies (16%) suggested that organic farming could have a negative impact on species richness.

A report of the research will appear in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Environmental Management.

'Many people think that organic farming has intrinsically lower environmental impacts than conventional farming but the published literature tells us this is not the case,' said Dr Hanna Tuomisto, who led the research at Oxford University's Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU). 'Whilst some organic farming practices do have less environmental impact than conventional ones, the published evidence suggests that others are actually worse for some aspects of the environment. People need to realise that an "organic" label is not a straightforward guarantee of the most environmentally-friendly product.
'The literature survey revealed a lot of variation between the different environmental impacts of farming, which is the result of very different management practices at different organic and conventional farms. This suggests that there could be a lot to gain by moving beyond the simplistic "organic" versus "conventional" debate and look at how to combine the most environmentally-friendly practices from both types of farming.'

The researchers suggest that reducing the environmental impacts of farming is a priority, as is biodiversity conservation on farmland. They also conclude that introducing new techniques could help to reduce the environmental impact of all types of farms: anaerobic digesters could be used to convert animal waste into biogas for heating and electricity, livestock could be selectively bred to reduce nitrogen and methane emissions, and new crops could be developed to reduce the need for pesticides or harness nutrients more efficiently.

Development of these technologies would be in addition to the crucially important task of better understanding the ecology of nature on farmland and so how to manage the landscape for the best outcomes for farming, biodiversity and the wider environment.

The researchers believe that ensuring food production while minimising damage to the environment and safeguarding wildlife is a priority. The happiest outcome would be to develop farming systems that produce high yields with low environmental impacts and that also take into account alternative land uses – such as setting land aside for wildlife habitats and sustainable forestry.


Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 3,700+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Funding Boost for Diabetes Research
Programme of research could be a game-changer for people with Type 1 diabetes and insulin-dependent Type 2 diabetes.
Friday, July 24, 2015
Ebola Vaccine Trial Begins in Senegal
A clinical trial to evaluate an Ebola vaccine has begun in Dakar, Senegal, after initial research started at the Jenner Institute, Oxford University.
Thursday, July 16, 2015
New Insight into Recombination and Sex Chromosomes
Not only does the platypus have some odd physical features, an updated version of its genome has also underscored the unusual genetic characteristics that it harbors.
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Protein Clue To Sudden Cardiac Death
A protein has been shown to have a surprising role in regulating the 'glue' that holds heart cells together, a finding that may explain how a gene defect could cause sudden cardiac death.
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Oxford Vaccine Group Begins First Trial of New Ebola Vaccine
Oxford University doctors and scientists are starting the first safety trial of an experimental preventative Ebola vaccine regimen being developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson (Janssen).
Wednesday, January 07, 2015
New Vaccine Generates Strong Immune Response Against Hepatitis C
A new hepatitis C vaccine has shown promising results in an early clinical trial at Oxford University, generating strong and broad immune responses against the virus causing the disease.
Friday, November 07, 2014
Investment In Cancer Research At Oxford University
Centre for Molecular Medicine to focus on cancer genomics and molecular diagnostics, through a partnership with the Chan Soon-Shiong Institute.
Friday, October 24, 2014
A-maize-ing Double Life of a Genome
Study findings could help current efforts to improve existing crop varieties.
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Genetic Tracking Identifies Cancer Stem Cells in Patients
The gene mutations driving cancer have been tracked for the first time in patients back to a distinct set of cells at the root of cancer – cancer stem cells.
Friday, May 16, 2014
Eating Organic Food Doesn't Lower Overall Cancer Risk
Women who always or mostly eat organic foods have the same likelihood of developing cancer as women who eat conventionally produced foods.
Tuesday, April 01, 2014
New Trial of Personalized Cancer Treatment Begins in Oxford
Phase I trial in Oxford will investigate a new drug, called CXD101.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Interactive Map of Human Genetic History Revealed
Study identifies, dates and characterizes genetic mixing between populations.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
UK Scientists to Begin Trial of Potential HIV Cure
Scientists and clinicians from five leading UK universities will begin a groundbreaking clinical trial next year to test a possible cure for HIV infection.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Nanoparticles to Probe Mystery Sperm Defects Behind Infertility
A way of using nanoparticles to investigate the mechanisms underlying 'mystery' cases of infertility has been developed.
Monday, November 18, 2013
Scientists Break Blood-Brain Barrier to Allow Cancer Drugs In
Oxford University scientists have found a way of delivering drugs more effectively to treat life-threatening cancers that have spread to the brain.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Scientific News
The Changing Tides of the In Vitro Diagnostics Market
With the increasing focus in personalized medicine, diagnostics plays a crucial role in patient monitoring.
LaVision BioTec Reports on the Neuro Research on the Human Brain After Trauma
Company reports on the work of Dr Ali Ertürk from the Institute for Stroke and Dementia Research at LMU Munich.
NIH Study Shows No Benefit of Omega-3 Supplements for Cognitive Decline
Research was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Less May Be More in Slowing Cholera Epidemics
Mathematical model shows more cases may be prevented and more lives saved when using one dose of cholera vaccine instead of recommended two doses.
Investigating the Vape
Expert independent review concludes that e-cigarettes have potential to help smokers quit.
NIH Launches Human RSV Study
Study aims to understand infection in healthy adults to aid development of RSV medicines, vaccines.
Researchers Discover Synthesis of a New Nanomaterial
Interdisciplinary team creates biocomposite for first time using physiological conditions.
Poor Survival Rates in Leukemia Linked to Persistent Genetic Mutations
For patients with an often-deadly form of leukemia, new research suggests that lingering cancer-related mutations – detected after initial treatment with chemotherapy – are associated with an increased risk of relapse and poor survival.
Flu Remedies Help Combat E. coli Bacteria
Physiologists from the University of Zurich have now discovered why the intestinal bacterium Escherichia coli (E. coli) multiplies heavily and has an inflammatory effect.
Marijuana Genome Unraveled
A study by Canadian researchers is providing a clearer picture of the evolutionary history and genetic organization of cannabis, a step that could have agricultural, medical and legal implications for this valuable crop.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,700+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FREE!