From Conservation Magazine:
Many studies have shown that planting strips of wildflowers amidst croplands can help replace some of the biodiversity that is lost in the quest to feed a growing, global population. More recently, studies have demonstrated that the increased biodiversity found in these strips includes species of insects and birds that act as an all-natural pest control, reducing or eliminating the need for pesticides.
How these strips affect crop yields, however, has been largely unexplored. That’s the topic researchers tackled in a study published recently in the journal Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment. They found that the presence of nearby perennial, species-rich wildflower strips increased winter wheat production by 10 percent as compared to control fields.
“Farmers care about biodiversity and they likely also know about the importance of natural enemies of crop pests,” said lead author Matthias Tschumi. “But what is mostly decisive for the farmer is what he gets in terms of yield at the end of the day.”
Scientists from Agroscope, the governmental Swiss Centre of Excellence for Agricultural Research, conducted the research on Swiss winter wheat fields, which are often plagued by the cereal leaf beetle—a major pest in Europe, Asia, and parts of North America. They took advantage of the many farms that have implemented wildflower strips as part of a government subsidy program that aims to boost biodiversity on farm lands.
Learn more here: http://conservationmagazine.org/2016/02/planting-wildflowers-could-help-feed-world/
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