What conservationists need to know about farming

Proc Biol Sci. 2012 Jul 22;279(1739):2714-24. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2012.0515. Epub 2012 Apr 25.


Farming is the basis of our civilization yet is more damaging to wild nature than any other sector of human activity. Here, we propose that in order to limit its impact into the future, conservation researchers and practitioners need to address several big topics--about the scale of future demand, about which crops and livestock to study, about whether low-yield or high-yield farming has the potential to be least harmful to nature, about the environmental performance of new and existing farming methods, and about the measures needed to enable promising approaches and techniques to deliver on their potential. Tackling these issues requires conservationists to explore the many consequences that decisions about agriculture have beyond the farm, to think broadly and imaginatively about the scale and scope of what is required to halt biodiversity loss, and to be brave enough to test and when necessary support counterintuitive measures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture / methods*
  • Agriculture / trends*
  • Animals
  • Conservation of Natural Resources*
  • Crops, Agricultural
  • Environment
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Livestock
  • Public Opinion*
  • Research Design
  • Time Factors