Wildlife on Farms

Sustainable farms are committed to protecting natural resources such as water and soil, and creating biodiversity through the cultivation of multiple species of crops and livestock. It’s not surprising then that sustainable farms are enticing places for wildlife. Insects such as bees and butterflies are welcome visitors as they help to pollinate crops. Songbirds help to control pest insects; hawks, owls and snakes eat rodents. However the farms’ main goal is to provide healthy food and fair-wage jobs for the community. As much as wildlife is enjoyed and respected, the farm isn’t planting habitat and food for wildlife. Or are they? The Wildlife Farm Alliance, or WLF, “was established by a national group of wildlands proponents and ecological farming advocates who share a concern for the land and its wild and human inhabitants.” They believe that agriculture should be compatible with preserving native plants and animals, sustainable family farms and ranches create healthy human communities and safeguard natural communities, and they believe the biodiversity crisis needs a conservation ethic to promote ecological recovery in agriculture lands. They are working towards inclusion in the National Organic Program (NOP) handbook to guide organic farmers in biodiversity conservation and have recently submitted their documents to the NOP.  Making farms safe for humans and wildlife is a main goal of WLF.  A long-term goal is to link farms with surrounding properties, whether privately or publically owned, to create contiguous habitat for wildlife. One of the best-known services that wildlife provides to agriculture is the role of pollinators. 30 percent of our food and fiber relies on native and managed bees and other pollinators. Without pollination, we wouldn’t have many fruits, vegetables, berries or nuts. The Native Pollinators in Agriculture Project is bringing together agriculture leaders and pollinator conservation groups. Their goals are to educate farmers on the vital role pollinators provide for farms and to help farmers protect and/or create habitats for pollinators. Declines in pollinators have been increasing in recent years and this could lead to significant economic losses in agriculture. Designing a farm to be biodiversity-friendly is possible. Careful management of the farm’s soil and water resources in connection with uncultivated, wild areas creates habitat for a range of beneficial wildlife. No matter what crops are grown, or the size of the farm, wildlife-friendly practices exist to enhance and improve the farm. For futher info on wildlife habitat on the farm, visit WLFs resources web page.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s