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Agricultural Biodiversity Is Essential for a Sustainable Improvement in Food and Nutrition Security

Author

Listed:
  • Emile A. Frison

    () (Bioversity International, via dei Tre Denari 472a, 00057, Maccarese, Rome, Italy)

  • Jeremy Cherfas

    () (Bioversity International, via dei Tre Denari 472a, 00057, Maccarese, Rome, Italy)

  • Toby Hodgkin

    () (Bioversity International, via dei Tre Denari 472a, 00057, Maccarese, Rome, Italy)

Abstract

Agricultural biodiversity has hitherto been valued almost exclusively as a source of traits that can be used in scientific breeding programs to improve the productivity of crop varieties and livestock breeds. We argue that it can make a far greater contribution to increased productivity. In particular, a wider deployment of agricultural biodiversity is an essential component in the sustainable delivery of a more secure food supply. Diversity of kingdoms, species and genepools can increase the productivity of farming systems in a range of growing conditions, and more diverse farming systems are also generally more resilient in the face of perturbations, thus enhancing food security. Diversity can maintain and increase soil fertility and mitigate the impact of pests and diseases. Diversity of diet, founded on diverse farming systems, delivers better nutrition and greater health, with additional benefits for human productivity and livelihoods. Agricultural biodiversity will also be absolutely essential to cope with the predicted impacts of climate change, not simply as a source of traits but as the underpinnings of more resilient farm ecosystems. Many of the benefits of agricultural biodiversity are manifested at different ecological and human scales, and cut across political divisions, requiring a cross-sectoral approach to reassess the role of agricultural biodiversity in sustainable and secure food production.

Suggested Citation

  • Emile A. Frison & Jeremy Cherfas & Toby Hodgkin, 2011. "Agricultural Biodiversity Is Essential for a Sustainable Improvement in Food and Nutrition Security," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(1), pages 1-16, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:3:y:2011:i:1:p:238-253:d:10940
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Levin, Carol E. & Long, Jennifer & Simler, Kenneth R. & Johnson-Welch, Charlotte, 2003. "Cultivating nutrition," FCND discussion papers 154, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
      • Levin, Carol E. & Long, Jennifer & Simler, Kenneth R. & Johnson-Welch, Charlotte, 2003. "Cultivating nutrition," FCND briefs 154, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    2. Pimentel, David, 2003. "Ecoagriculture: Strategies to Feed the World and Save Wild Biodiversity: Jeffrey A. McNeely and Sara J. Scherr, Island Press, Washington, DC, 2003, ISBN: 1-55963-644-0, 313 pp," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 513-514, October.
    3. Ravi, S.B. & Hrideek, T.K. & Kumar, A.T.K. & Prabhakaran, T.R. & Mal, B. & Padulosi, S., 2010. "Mobilizing Neglected and Underutilized Crops to Strengthen Food Security and Alleviate Poverty in India," MPRA Paper 43094, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Ravi, S.B. & Hrideek, T.K. & Kumar, A.T.K. & Prabhakaran, T.R. & Mal, B. & Padulosi, S., 2010. "Mobilizing Neglected and Underutilized Crops to Strengthen Food Security and Alleviate Poverty in India," MPRA Paper 43037, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Ravi, S.B. & Hrideek, T.K. & Kumar, A.T.K. & Prabhakaran, T.R. & Mal, B. & Padulosi, S., 2010. "Mobilizing neglected and underutilized crops to strengthen food security and alleviate poverty in india," MPRA Paper 37492, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    6. Khalid Zaman & Talat Islam & Zulkanain Abdul Rahman & Amer Saifude Ghazali & Saddam Hussain & Muhammad Imran Malik, 2016. "European Countries Trapped in Food Poverty and Inequality: Agricultural Sustainability is the Promising Solution," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 129(1), pages 181-194, October.
    7. Joachim N. Binam & Frank Place & Arinloye A. Djalal & Antoine Kalinganire, 2017. "Effects of local institutions on the adoption of agroforestry innovations: evidence of farmer managed natural regeneration and its implications for rural livelihoods in the Sahel," Agricultural and Food Economics, Springer;Italian Society of Agricultural Economics (SIDEA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-28, December.
    8. Matthew Heron Wilson & Sarah Taylor Lovell, 2016. "Agroforestry—The Next Step in Sustainable and Resilient Agriculture," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(6), pages 1-15, June.
    9. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:5:p:1614-:d:147134 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Vincent Lebot, 2013. "Coping with insularity: the need for crop genetic improvement to strengthen adaptation to climatic change and food security in the Pacific," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 15(6), pages 1405-1423, December.
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    12. Anna-Lisa Noack & Nicky Pouw, 2015. "A blind spot in food and nutrition security: where culture and social change shape the local food plate," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 32(2), pages 169-182, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    agricultural biodiversity; food security; sustainability; nutrition; hunger;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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