Natural Habitat Around Farms a Win for Strawberry Growers, Birds and Consumers
Conserving natural habitat around strawberry fields can help protect growers’ yields, their bottom line and the environment with no detectable threat to food safety, indicates a study led by the University of California, Davis.
In the study, published in the journal Ecological Applications, researchers conducted grower surveys and experiments at 20 strawberry farms stretching between Santa Cruz, Watsonville, and Salinas on California’s Central Coast — a region that produces 43 percent of the nation’s strawberries.
“Our results indicate that strawberry farmers are better off with natural habitat around their farms than without it,” said lead author Elissa Olimpi, a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Daniel Karp, assistant professor with the UC Davis Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology.
The study’s models indicate that adding natural habitat can decrease crop damage costs by 23 percent. Removing natural habitat can increase costs up to a whopping 76 percent.
Read the article in Ecological Applications: https://esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/eap.2115