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Small farms outdo big ones on biodiversity — and crop yields

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Small farms outdo big ones on biodiversity — and crop yields

Photo caption: A farmer in Ethiopia harvests teff, a cereal. Small farms tend to have more-diverse landscapes than do sprawling industrial operations. Credit: Andia / Universal Images Group / Getty. Nature – March 29, 2021.

Large-scale farms account for most of the global food supply, but smallholdings protect species and are just as profitable.

Small farms tend to be more productive and biodiverse than large ones, and are roughly as profitable and resource-efficient.

Worldwide, 84% of farms are less than 2 hectares in size. Many policymakers and scientists argue that these smallholdings outperform large industrial operations — which provide the bulk of the world’s food — on a range of environmental and socioeconomic measures. Vincent Ricciardi and his colleagues at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, analysed 118 studies conducted over 50 years across 51 countries to assess how farm size affects outcomes other than food production. […]

Nature Sustain. (2021)

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