DOI: 10.12924/of2016.02010023 |Publication Date: 29 June 2016

Can the Adoption of Organic Farming Be Predicted by Biogeographic Factors? A French Case Study

Marco Pautasso 1, * , Anja Vieweger 2 and A. Márcia Barbosa 3
1 Animal and Plant Health Unit, European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Parma, Italy
2 Organic Research Centre, Elm Farm, Hamstead Marshall, Newbury, UK
3 Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos (CIBIO), InBIO Research Network in Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, University of Évora, Portugal
* Corresponding author
Abstract: Organic farming adoption is on the rise in many countries, due to the increased awareness of farmers, citizens, governments and other stakeholders of its more sustainable nature. Various studies have investigated the socio-economic drivers (e.g., consumer demand, support measures, agricultural policies) of organic farming adoption, but less attention has been paid to whether biogeographic factors could also be associated with variation in rates of organically managed farms in certain regions within countries. We investigate whether biogeographic factors are associated with variation in the proportion of land under organic farming in French departments. The proportion of land under organic farming increased with decreasing latitude and increasing department area. Non-significant factors were number of plant taxa, proportion of Natura 2000 protected areas, connectivity, longitude, altitude and department population. These results were robust to controlling for spatial autocorrelation. Larger and southern French departments tend to have a greater adoption of organic farming, possibly because of the more extensive nature of agriculture in such regions. Biogeographic factors have been relatively neglected in investigations of the drivers of organic farming adoption, but may have an important explanatory value.

Keywords: biodiversity; France; human population; land sharing; macroecology; organic farming; plant species richness; protected areas; spatial autocorrelation; sustainable development

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