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Sustainable agriculture to promote biodiversity

This is an ECAF article The INSPIA project brings together farmers, industry, and other stakeholders to share Best Management Practices for biodiversity across agricultural landscapes, including the soil. • Biodiversity affects key ecosystem services, such as the primary production of food for humans and the rest of nature, plus the recycling of nutrients and water.• One hectare of land contains a lot of biodiversity in the soil – equivalent to the weight of one cow of bacteria, two sheep of protozoa, and four rabbits of soil animals such as earthworms. The INSPIA* project is designed to give European farmers the opportunity to improve biodiversity and natural capital, whilst increasing the resource efficiency and competitiveness of their agricultural practices. The cultivation of land brings the grains, fruits and meat that sustain us, but without good appropriate management agricultural practices can be unsustainable. INSPIA farms will provide good example of the successful synergy that can be achieved between biodiversity and sustainable agriculture. INSPIA is an open project, launched by a coalition of stakeholders. The European Conservation Agriculture Federation (ECAF), the Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (IAD) and the European Crop Protection Association (ECPA) developed the project to raise awareness about the value of Best Management Practices (BMPs) to both biodiversity and agricultural productivity, and to provide guidance and demonstration about how to implement them practically in the field. Specifically INSPIA will:  Create a farm network and mobilise agricultural technicians to validate, demonstrate and communicate the BMPs Provide an index on-farm sustainability based on a set of verifiable indicators linked to BMPs Promote the adoption of BMPs throughout Europe Promote partnerships in pursuit of common goals for sustainable agriculture and biodiversity Raise awareness of EU policy stakeholders, technicians and farmers about sustainable agriculture The project website has been launched, and the online sustainability indexing platform is in the final stages of development. *European Index for Sustainable Productive Agriculture