California Certified Organic Farmers, the largest organic certifying agency in the country, has partnered with the Wild Farm Alliance to develop guidelines for biodiversity conservation in organic farming. "While current organic standards clearly require the protection of biodiversity resources on and around organic farms, until now, organic growers lacked clear guidelines on how to achieve this," CCOF said in a news release about the partnership. The two groups support habitat conservation and water quality and wildlife preservation.
By testing biodiversity strategies on real-life organic farms, CCOF and WFA were able to develop more than 80 guidelines for organic farmers and certifiers. The guidelines focus on preserving wildlife and native plants by accommodating such features as woodlands, wetlands and hedgerows and minimizing livestock's impact; managing and protecting water resources; providing habitat for pollinators, insect predators, birds and bats; and controlling invasive plant and animal species.
"WFA has been working on these guidelines for well over a year and a half since they formed an Organic Farm Biodiversity Committee in April of 2004 with CCOF and others," said Jake Lewin, director of marketing and international programs for CCOF. "CCOF then assisted WFA in attempts to flesh out how biodiversity considerations could be applied within the framework and process of organic certification." WFA then produced booklets outlining the recommendations, along with suggestions about how to implement them. Any farmer or certifier who has not received a guide may contact the Wild Farm Alliance at www.wildfarmalliance.org or 831.761.8408 to request one.