Beyond carbon: Discover how we assess biodiversity at the farm level

Learn more about biodiversity and how it is measured on farms.

Mar 27, 2024

The agroecological transition of a farm extends far beyond the reduction of its GHG emissions.

Farming practices have a multifaceted impact, not only influencing climate but also impacting

  • biodiversity

  • soil health

  • and water quality.

These factors are crucial for improving agronomic performances.

On top of the carbon footprint, Regen Insight assesses these three environmental components, providing key indicators to measure, manage and maintain high environmental integrity at the farm level. 

Here, we will zoom in the vital biodiversity component.

Understanding biodiversity indicators

Regen Insight’s certification framework does not provide a single biodiversity measurement but rather a number of pressure indicators. These give a precise understanding of which farming practices enable species to thrive or not, encouraging farmers to pursue beneficial ones for biodiversity. 

There are 9 indicators to monitor the impact of farming practices on biodiversity, divided into 4 categories. We have based our choice of indicators on the work carried out by Club AGATA: 14 AGRICULTURAL BIODIVERSITY INDICATORS for the agri-food sectors, as well as the BIOTEX method. Let’s break it down:

  1. Crop diversity 

    • Number of crops in the rotation: Greater diversity of crop species results in varied habitats and resources for both animal and plant species.

    • Cultivated diversity index: An even distribution of different crops enhances ecological functions associated with multiple crops.

  2. Mosaic of the farm

    • Number of plots larger than 12 hectares: Larger plots can impede species circulation, including pollinators. 

    • Proportion of Areas of Ecological Interest*: Features like hedges, ponds, and ditches provide crucial habitat, food, and ecological corridors.

    • Plot shape index: The more complex the plot shape, the greater the specific richness of flora and fauna.

  3. Farming practices

    • Area covered in winter: Alive cover crops favour life in the soil (including earthworms, fungi and bacteria), and protects it from wind and water erosion. 

    • Nitrogen dose per hectare: Excessive nitrogen inputs can lead nitrates to leach into the water, causing eutrophication phenomenon which depletes aquatic ecosystems from oxygen. 

    • % of Utilised agricultural area (UAA) ploughed: Reduced ploughing minimises disturbances for soil organisms.

  1. Soil state

    • Humic balance: It represents the inputs and outputs of organic matter in the soil, which greatly affects the activity of soil organisms.

Biodiversity and carbon certificate generation

Although performance on biodiversity indicators is strongly encouraged, it does not impact carbon certificate generation. A good news is that on average, practices generating carbon certificates also tend to enhance biodiversity. However, projects with a significant negative impact on these indicators undergo careful reassessment before a final decision is made on program inclusion.

Regen Insight is able to report on biodiversity indicators seamlessly in its platform, requiring no additional data beyond the online GHG declaration and supporting evidence.

Why does it matter? 

Taking into account farming practices' impact  on biodiversity is key. Here’s why:

Biodiversity at the farm level is crucial for production:

  • Crop diversity increases the farm’s resilience to climate change hazards and diseases

  • Soil organisms ensure essential ecological functions: nutrient availability for plants, soil porosity, pollutant degradation…

  • Auxiliary fauna ensure other essential ecological functions: pollination, natural pest control…

Besides, practices that support biodiversity also tend to be climate-friendly, contributing to increased carbon credit generation potential. 


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© 2023 Regen Insight. All rights reserved.


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© 2023 Regen Insight. All rights reserved.