Soil Fertility and Biodiversity in Organic Farming

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Science  31 May 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5573, pp. 1694-1697
DOI: 10.1126/science.1071148

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An understanding of agroecosystems is key to determining effective farming systems. Here we report results from a 21-year study of agronomic and ecological performance of biodynamic, bioorganic, and conventional farming systems in Central Europe. We found crop yields to be 20% lower in the organic systems, although input of fertilizer and energy was reduced by 34 to 53% and pesticide input by 97%. Enhanced soil fertility and higher biodiversity found in organic plots may render these systems less dependent on external inputs.

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