Eating Biodiversity: an Investigation of the Links Between Quality Food Production and Biodiversity Protection

A Relu Policy and Practice Note (No. 3) summarising a research project to investigate the benefits of grazing farm animals on natural grasslands to farm businesses, product quality, ecological management and human health.

Year of Publication2008

This project investigated the links between quality food production and biodiversity protection by asking the question: can farmers who use and maintain biodiverse, natural grasslands by grazing animals on them, translate that into extra profits from their products? The conventional view is that landscapes and environmental quality are the result of good farm management. One of the aims of the project was to invert that concept and explore the idea of the natural biodiversity of grassland as actually contributing to the quality of the farm produce. Chemical analysis of the produce, as well as tasting panels and consumer focus groups, have shown that meat products from animals grazed on biodiverse grasslands are clearly distinguished by a number of positive characteristics.

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