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David and Debbie meet up for a chat about the marketing of Hassett Hills Lamb. Debbie talks to him about her latest conservation ideas and her report to.

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Presentation on theme: "David and Debbie meet up for a chat about the marketing of Hassett Hills Lamb. Debbie talks to him about her latest conservation ideas and her report to."— Presentation transcript:

1 David and Debbie meet up for a chat about the marketing of Hassett Hills Lamb. Debbie talks to him about her latest conservation ideas and her report to FWAG; they go off to look at the latest Home Farm beetle bank. The Archers, 15 October 2002

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3 "Since the war, we have destroyed habitat diversity, we've destroyed habitat quality, simply because there wasn't enough food to go round and we needed to increase crop yields.” Professor Chris Pollock CBE DSc FIBiol

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6 MacLeod, Wratten, Sotherton & Thomas (2004) 'Beetle banks' as refuges for beneficial arthropods in farmland: long-term changes in predator communities and habitat. Agricultural and Forest Entomology, 6, FWAG

7 Boxworth Project Less-intensive pesticide management can maintain profits despite lower yields SCARAB & TALISMAN Wider applicability of the Boxworth results 1989 LIFE experiment Complete integrated arable farming system 1992 LINK:IFS initiative Integrated systems practical, economic and deliver environmental benefits 1990s Boarded Barns study Integrated Crop Management as profitable as conventional Hole et al. (2005) Biological Conservation Review of whether organic farming benefits biodiversity

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10 size of ecological unit for experiment small plot field 1840 plant processes farming systems 1990 time cost Evidence to the Environmental Audit Select Committee Dr Johnson: I think that doing this kind of research that compares agricultural systems would be very good value for money in terms of the delivery of better biodiversity in our countryside Q349 Mr Chaytor: You are making a case for future research to contrast the impact of organic as against conventional, for example? Dr Johnson: … It is that kind of research that has been the Cinderella of biological research for far too long; it is nice to see agro-ecology up in lights for a change.

11 Size of the FSE We counted: 700,000 plants; 17,000 bees; 13,000 butterflies We trapped: 500,000 seeds; 1.5 million invertebrates We made >4000 visits to fields; analysed >7000 datasets … at a cost of £5.9m (24 research grants) “This research will not only address GM crops. This is an extremely important opportunity to gain a more detailed understanding of the effects of agricultural management on farmland wildlife generally” Michael Meacher, 1999 Plot size (m 2 ) The size of the FSE versus 82 comparable ecological experiments FSE: Beet, Maize, SOSR Number of plots beet maize SOSR

12 >  2-fold >  1.5-fold >  1.25-fold >  fold >  1 Open: GM>C Filled: C>GM □ P<0.05 ○ not sig. Table 1 Brooks et al. H. rufipes in beet per year N=64 R=0.68 (0.55–0.85) P<0.001

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14 Holism New-Age Neo-pagan Postmodernist Scientism Reductionist Anti-spiritual Arrogant Repeatable experiments, data, accumulation of evidence Evidence-based, critical realist Reductionism applied to ecology, e.g. in mathematical modelling Reconcile faith with science and Darwinian view Humility and Awe

15 Plato, Aristotle: Species as an unchangeable 'type’, with eternal, ideal form Darwin: Uniqueness of Individual; Species is a statistical abstraction shape colour

16 Curry Report: Farming & Food – a sustainable future “a farming and food sector that is … a good steward of the environment” Reform of the CAP away from production and towards environment DEFRA’s Countryside Stewardship scheme Consumer pressure, e.g. Tesco’s ‘Nature’s Choice’; CWS ‘Focus on Farming Practice’; English Nature; RSPB Push for implementation of agro-ecological management schemes Firbank et al. (2003) The implications of spring-sown genetically modified herbicide-tolerant crops for farmland biodiversity: A commentary on the Farm Scale Evaluations of Spring Sown Crops. “ research is now showing how biodiversity can be enhanced in arable landscapes by the manipulation of … farming systems and their adjacent field margins. If wildlife is to be conserved and restored in the British countryside, this balance between agricultural production and opportunities for biodiversity needs to be shifted back to a significant degree.” Agro-ecological management is flexible enough to deliver required biodiversity Biodiversity can be augmented for a minimal yield penalty Sound link between intensivity of agriculture and loss of wildlife

17 Agriculture and Environment Biotechnology Commision Agriculture and Environment Commision ?


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