1 Tahrcountry Musings: Protecting wild species may require growing more food on less land

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Protecting wild species may require growing more food on less land

According to a new study published in the journal Science separating natural habitats from high-yielding farmland could be a more effective way to conserve wild species than trying to grow crops and conserve nature on the same land

The authors describe the pros and cons of land sharing and land sparing. Land sharing integrates both objectives on the same land. Land sparing aims for high yield farming combined with strategies for protecting natural habitats from conversion to agriculture

The research was done by researchers at the University of Cambridge and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. They collected information on more than 600 species in southwest Ghana and northern India. In these two areas demand for agricultural land is putting increasing pressure on wild species. 

The researchers evaluated current and future scenarios of food demand. They found that most species would have larger total populations if farming was restricted to the smallest area feasible along with protecting as much natural forest as possible. This is applicable to not only rare species but for common species as well.

Journal reference 
Reconciling Food Production and Biodiversity Conservation: Land Sharing and Land Sparing Compared
Ben Phalan,Malvika Oniall,Andrew Balmfordd,Rhys E. Green

Science 2 September 2011: Vol. 333 no. 6047 pp. 1289-1291 

No comments: