Cool Farm Biodiversity metric comes to the tropics and dry shrublands

Following the successful development of the Cool Farm Tool Biodiversity metric for farms in the Temperate Forest biome, the initiative is being expanded to cover Mediterranean and Semi-Arid as well as Tropical Forest biomes. These regions are highly important for global agricultural production and include some of the world’s most rapidly expanding agricultural areas. At the same time, they have recently been identified as having biodiversity that is disproportionately sensitive to land-use and climate change. Developing tools to maximise the biodiversity that can be supported by agricultural systems in mediterranean and tropical biomes is therefore a top priority.

Mediterranean and Semi-Arid (MedSA) farm biodiversity metric

Dr Liam Crowther (University of East Anglia), and Cool Farm Alliance’s own Rich Heathcote coordinate the work on the Mediterranean and Semi-Arid (MedSA) farm biodiversity metric with support from CFA Member AM FRESH. A list of farm management practices and biodiversity targets (groups of species, or taxa) which will be scored in the CFT have been identified in a workshop in Valencia, Spain, in June 2019. This was hosted and supported by AM FRESH, and attended by growers and wildlife experts working in mediterranean and semi-arid systems around the world. As a following step, Dr. Crowther is now convening species group specialists to provide expert opinion and evaluate the available scientific evidence to provide scores for the selected species groups and actions. More information on the project can be found on the SUFICA website.

Tropical farm biodiversity metric

In parallel to that, Dr. Sarah Luke (University of Cambridge) has recently started the work on developing the Tropical farm biodiversity metric. Stakeholders are currently being invited to participate in the initial workshops to determine the farm management actions and biodiversity targets that will be included for tropical farms.

Both tools are planned to be accessible online by mid-2021.

Your input is needed

To help us with these developments, we are seeking feedback from users of the currently available Cool Farm Biodiversity metric. Please answer a few short questions in our Cool Farm Biodiversity metric feedback questionnaire. This should take no more than 5 minutes to complete, and will provide us with highly valuable input for the upcoming MedSA and Tropical tools. We would love to hear your views.