The Soil Association welcomes ‘The State of Nature’ report
22 May 2013
The Soil Association welcomes the new report ‘The State of Nature’ from twenty five UK conservation groups, showing that while there have been successes in increasing some specific individual species conservationists have failed to halt the dramatic decline of wildlife in the wider countryside.
Head of Policy, Emma Hockridge comments on the report,
“This report confirms what we have been saying for years. The move towards intensive farming and monoculture is having a catastrophic effect on our environment and wildlife. We need urgently to halt this decline and the Soil Association is calling on the government to make more commitment to supporting agro-ecological farming systems such as organic which support and increase wildlife.“
The report suggests intensive farming practices are partially responsible for the decline in wildlife in the UK through the use of pesticides, and the destruction of hedgerows which are wildlife havens. Organic farming systems work with nature, encouraging natural predatory insects in the place of insecticides, and rotations of different crops in place of herbicides. These diverse farming systems, with crops and farm animals, can support around 50% more wildlife, and 30% more species, than non-organic farming.
 State of Nature report: http://www.rspb.org.uk/ourwork/science/stateofnature/index.aspx
- UK indicators show that farmland birds and butterflies have declined substantially since the 1970s and 1990s respectively.
- Of 1,064 farmland species for which we have trends, 60% have decreased and 34% have decreased strongly.
- 14% of all farmland flowering plants are on the national Red List: 62 species in all.
- Many of the changes in farmland wildlife are linked to shifts in farmland management, particularly those intended to boost productivity.
- Some species groups, such as birds and bats, have benefited from conservation action, particularly through agri-environment schemes. Despite this, most farmland species have failed to recover from the declines of recent decades.