Farms that create habitat key to food security and biodiversity

| October 24, 2023 | Leave a Comment

Item Link: Access the Resource

Date of Publication: September 4

Year of Publication: 2023

Publication City: San Francisco, CA

Publisher: Stanford University

Author(s): Elana Kimpbrell

Diversified farming is an important complement to forest protections for reversing tropical biodiversity declines

It seems intuitive that forests would provide better habitat for forest-dwelling wildlife than farms. Yet, in one of the longest-running studies of tropical wildlife populations in the world, Stanford researchers found that over 18 years, smaller farms with varying crop types – interspersed with patches or ribbons of forest – sustain many forest-dependent bird populations in Costa Rica, even as populations decline in forests.

In a paper published Sept. 4 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Nicholas Hendershot and colleagues compared trends in specific bird populations across three landscape types in Costa Rica: forests, diversified farms, and intensive agriculture. The steepest declines were found in forests, then in intensive agriculture (and the species succeeding in intensive agriculture were often invasive). But on diversified farms, a significant subset of bird species typically found in forests, including some of conservation concern, actually increased over time.

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