BASF recently introduced Living Acres, a research initiative focused on improving monarch butterfly habitats in high-production agriculture. The research initiative, which started at the BASF Research Farm in Holly Springs, N.C., works to help farmers and other land owners increase biodiversity and develop best practices for establishing and maintaining milkweed plants in non-cropland areas.

The monarch butterfly is an iconic insect, a symbol of summer in North America. Recently, the monarch butterfly population has declined, in part, because of the loss of overwintering site habitat, changing weather patterns and the reduction in milkweed habitat. Monarchs need milkweed for summer forage and larval feeding sites, and reestablishing the plant can positively impact the population.

Biodiversity is an important part of any ecosystem, and stewardship and sustainability practices play an important role in protecting the land for future generations. BASF is committed to finding and providing solutions for maximizing yields while fostering and supporting biodiversity.

Next year, BASF will expand the research to locations around the U.S., including other BASF research farms and land grant universities. In the future, Living Acres will provide actionable recommendations on where milkweed can be planted to maximize monarch habitat and biodiversity while minimizing strain on crop production.

“We are working to help agriculture take a leadership role in this conservation effort without impacting high-yield production acres,” Dr. Safarpour said. “With collaboration from stakeholders, a solution will be put in motion.”

For more information on Living Acres and BASF’s milkweed research initiative, visit http://www.agro.basf.us/sustainability/sustainability-home.html.