Organic farming provides reliable environmental benefits but increases variability in crop yields: a global meta-analysis

Synthesis paper
Journal article

Published 2019 by Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems. Authored by Smith, O. M. , Cohen, A. L. , Rieser, C. J. , Davis, A. G. , Taylor, J. M. , Adesanya, A. W. , Jones, M. S. , Meier, A. R. , Reganold, J. P. , Orpet, R. J. , Northfield, T. D. and Crowder, D. W.

Summary

To promote food security and sustainability, ecologically intensive farming systems should reliably produce adequate yields of high-quality food, enhance the environment, be profitable, and promote social wellbeing. Yet, while many studies address the mean effects of ecologically intensive farming systems on sustainability metrics, few have considered variability. This represents a knowledge gap because producers depend on reliable provisioning of yields, profits, and environmental services to enhance the sustainability of their production systems over time. Further, stable crop yields are necessary to ensure reliable access to nutritious foods.This paper addresses this by conducting a global meta-analysis to assess the average magnitude and variability of seven sustainability metrics in organic compared to conventional systems. Specifically, we explored the effects of these systems on (i) biotic abundance, (ii) biotic richness, (iii) soil organic carbon, (iv) soil carbon stocks, (v) crop yield, (vi) total production costs, and (vii) profitability.

Research detail

Organic farming provides reliable environmental benefits but increases variability in crop yields: a global meta-analysis

Synthesis paper
Journal article

Published 2019 by Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems. Authored by Smith, O. M. , Cohen, A. L. , Rieser, C. J. , Davis, A. G. , Taylor, J. M. , Adesanya, A. W. , Jones, M. S. , Meier, A. R. , Reganold, J. P. , Orpet, R. J. , Northfield, T. D. and Crowder, D. W.

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