The European Commission has presented the Biodiversity Plan, a document that is part of the Green New Deal, the European Green Pact that aims to make Europe the first CO2-neutral continent by 2050. The new strategy proposes ambitious actions and commitments to halt the loss of biodiversity in Europe and the world and turn our food systems into global reference standards. It addresses the main causes of biodiversity loss, such as unsustainable use of land and sea surface, overexploitation of natural resources, pollution and invasive alien species. It proposes, inter alia, to strengthen organic farming and other farming practices that respect biodiversity. The 'From producer to consumer' strategy sets a 50% reduction in the use of pesticides and related risks, a 20% reduction in fertiliser use and a target of 25% of agricultural land being used for organic farming.
Organic farming can make an important contribution to protecting the environment and reducing emissions. Organic farming systems use 45% less energy than conventional farming systems and produce 40% less greenhouse gases than conventional farming methods. In addition, organic farming bans the use of synthetic chemicals, one of the main factors affecting biological diversity, along with habitat loss and climate change. These can have short-term toxic effects in directly exposed organisms or long-term effects causing changes in the food chain.
The 50% cut in pesticides is one of the most ambitious targets, which will require, even in conventional farming, innovations developed in organic farming with techniques and approaches of natural origin, as an alternative to synthetic chemicals. These techniques based on substances of natural and mineral origin enable the management of harmful pests and pathogens based on the study of their biology and behaviour.
The areas cultivated with the organic method, according to data released by the World Meteorological Organization (Wmo), are very useful in the sequestration of carbon dioxide. Each hectare of organic soil is able to store at least half a ton of carbon every year and organic production requires on average 30% less energy per unit of product. Bio-managed soils are also able to retain more water than traditional ones, thus ensuring a better yield in the increasingly frequent case of scarce rainfall. (source: lifegate.it)
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