Module Identifier RS33810  
Academic Year 2001/2002  
Co-ordinator Dr John Warren  
Semester Semester 1  
Pre-Requisite RS11720 , RS20210 or, RS20310 or equivalents  
Assessment Group project   Group project and presentation - to be submitted by the start of week 11   40%  
  Exam   2 Hours   60%  

Syllabus / Curriculum design

The module will cover the following topics: Environmental impacts of organic and conventional agriculture; conflicts between production and sustainability; maintenance, enhancement and creation of agricultural habitats and features; importance of landscape processors and historial context for agricultural systems; farm waste management planning; resource use, conservation and pollution (key issues, impacts of organic agriculture, potential and techniques for improvement); biodiversity (genetic, species and habitat level); practical whole-farm conservation planning; measuring the environmental impacts of various types of agricultural production systems and practices. Whole farm conservation plans will be prepared as group projects.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the module students should be able to:

(i)   identify potential environmental impacts of particular production systems and practices;

(ii)   apply ecological principles such as diversity, mutualism and density dependence to enhance the environmental impacts of
   farming systems

(iii)   recognise the importance of landscape scale processors and historical context for agricultural systems;

(iv)   outline the conflicts which occur when trying to balance production with sustainability;

(v)   analyse impact on the environment at farm level;

(vi)   set up a nature-conservation plan on a farm level;

(vii)   set up a farm waste management plan

Aims of the module

To provide students with an understanding of the positive and negative environmental impacts of organic farming systems, and an understanding of how to use ecological principles to enhance these environmental impacts.

Reading Lists

(1995) Effects of organic farming on the landscape. Report to Countryside Commission. Entec, Warwick
(1995) Organic farming and biodiversity.. Conference proceedings. European Network for Organic Farming, Barcelona.
(1992) Green fields - grey future. EC agricultural policy at the crossroads. Greenpeace, Amsterdam.
Lampkin N H. (1990) Organic farming. Farming Press
Redman M (ed.). (1992) Organic farming and the countryside.. Report for the Countryside Commission. British Organic Farmers, Bristol.
Arden-Clarke C. (1998) The environmental effects of conventional and organic/biological farming systems. I. Impacts on the soil.. Research Report RR-16. Political Ecology Research Group; Oxford
Arden-Clarke C. (1998) The environmental effects of conventional and organic/biological farming systems. II. Impacts on the crop ecosystem, wildlife and its habitats. Research Report RR-17. Political Ecology Research Group; Oxford.
Unwin R et al. (1995) The effect of organic farming systems on aspects of the environment. A review for MAFF. ADAS, London.

Chamberlain D, Fuller R and Brooks D. (1996) The effects of organic farming on birds. Elm Farm Research Centre Bulletin 21: 4-9.
Reganold J P, Elliott L F and Unger Y L. (1987) Long-term effects of organic and conventional farming on soil erosion.. Nature 330: 370-372.
Kristensen L (ed.). (1995) Nitrogen leaching in ecological agriculture. Biological Agriculture and Horticulture 11(1-4).