Enhancing Aboveground Biodiversity: A Checklist For Farmers

  • Diversify enterprises by including more species of crops and livestock.
  • Use legume-based crop rotations and mixed pastures.
  • Intercrop or strip-crop annual crops where feasible.
  • Mix varieties of the same crop.
  • Use varieties that carry many genes—rather than just one or two—for tolerating a particular insect or disease.
  • Emphasize open-pollinated crops over hybrids for their adaptability to local environments and greater genetic diversity.
  • Grow cover crops in orchards, vineyards and crop fields.
  • Leave strips of wild vegetation at field edges.
  • Provide corridors for wildlife and beneficial insects.
  • Practice agroforestry: where possible, combine trees or shrubs with crops or livestock to improve habitat continuity for natural enemies.
  • Plant microclimate-modifying trees and native plants as windbreaks or hedgerows.
  • Provide a source of water for birds and insects.
  • Leave areas of the farm untouched as habitat for plant and animal diversity.

(see Chapter 4 to learn about enhancing belowground biodiversity)