Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Biodiversity and ecosystems

With large scale habitat loss, overharvesting, climate change and invasive species affecting most regions in the world, many thousands of animal and plant species are at risk of extinction due to human actions. The food system is the primary driver of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation. At the same time, food production is closely interlinked with and dependent on the continued existence of specific natural areas, because it relies on ecosystem services such as pollination, fish stock renewal and rain water cycling and countless others.

23 June 2020

This report from the European Commission’s Science for Environment Policy describes the importance of pollinators (such as bees, flies and moths) for food production and for nature. It identifies several drivers of pollinator loss and sets out methods of monitoring pollinator populations.

17 June 2020

This book looks at how local food biodiversity can help to improve nutrition. Chapters cover the impacts of poor diets, evidence for the role of biodiversity in supporting healthy diets, agroecology, public food procurement, youth-led innovations and reframing food systems narratives.

9 June 2020

The interim report of the UK think tank Institute for Public Policy Research’s Environmental Justice Commission sets out a vision for the transformation of society and the economy. It argues that it is essential to put people at the heart of solving the climate and nature crises.

27 May 2020

This paper finds that global cropland use could be almost halved while maintaining current output levels by optimising fertiliser inputs and re-allocating the production location of 16 major crops. Co-benefits would include reduced emissions from fertilisers and rice paddies, lower irrigation water requirements, and land being freed up for sequestering carbon through restoring natural vegetation.

26 May 2020

This book provides an overview of peatlands and their importance around the world, including chapters on peatland destruction and restoration projects.

19 May 2020

FCRN member Erasmus zu Ermgassen has co-authored this paper, which calculates variations in the carbon footprint of soy products grown in different regions of Brazil. It finds that soy from certain areas associated with loss of natural vegetation has a carbon footprint per unit of product six times higher than the average carbon footprint of Brazilian soy. It also finds that soy products imported by the European Union are more likely to be from regions linked to deforestation than soy exported from Brazil to other places, such as China.

12 May 2020

This paper examines the effectiveness of different forms of ecological compensation schemes - i.e. offsetting biodiversity lost to developments such as oil palm plantations or mines - in achieving “No Net Loss” of biodiversity. Using simulations of four case studies, it finds that none of the 18 ecological compensation policy designs studied would achieve No Net Loss of native vegetation extent. 

5 May 2020

This interim report from the Dasgupta review on the economics of biodiversity, commissioned by the UK’s HM Treasury, sets out the main economic and scientific concepts that will inform the final review. The aim of the review is to assess the economic benefits of biodiversity, and the economic costs of its loss. It will also identify actions that can protect and enhance both biodiversity and economic prosperity.

5 May 2020

This paper uses temperature and precipitation projections across the ranges of over 30,000 species on land and in water to estimate when each species will be exposed to dangerous climate conditions. It predicts that most species within a given assemblage (group of species within a habitat) will encounter inhospitable climate conditions at the same time as each other (e.g. several species might have a similar upper limit on the temperature that they are able to cope with), meaning that disruption of the overall assemblage is likely to be abrupt.

29 April 2020

This report from the International Institute for Environment and Development explores the potential to use “biocredits” to protect biodiversity. Biocredits are an economic instrument that allows the creation and trade of “biodiversity units”. Biocredits would be bought by people or institutions that want to invest in protecting biodiversity, and the money from their initial sale would fund conservation activities that increase biodiversity above a baseline level. The report distinguishes between biocredits and biodiversity offsets, which are used to compensate for habitats that have been destroyed, e.g. because of construction projects.

7 April 2020

This book examines how communities of microorganisms (microbiomes) affect their multicellular hosts, including soil, plant, animal and human hosts. It discusses how microbiomes affect the behaviour, nutrition and disease susceptibility of their hosts.

7 April 2020

This report from the Global Resource Initiative Taskforce, commissioned by the UK government, looks at how the UK can reduce the climate and environmental impacts related to its import and consumption of beef and leather, cocoa, palm oil, pulp and paper, rubber, soya and timber. 

7 April 2020

This paper argues that substantially rebuilding the health of marine ecosystems is both necessary for human thriving and achievable within a generation. While marine ecosystems are under pressure from overfishing, pollution, oxygen depletion and other stressors, the authors point out that many remote areas of the ocean are still wild and large populations of marine mammals still exist and are capable of recovering if given the chance.

10 March 2020

This paper reviews initiatives for conserving insects and argues that they must be expanded globally to protect insect populations. It also argues that the value of insects to society must be better communicated to people, e.g. through focusing on the benefits of iconic insect species or particular landscapes. 

3 March 2020

Microplastics are tiny fragments of plastic formed as larger pieces break down in the environment, or else intentionally manufactured (e.g. as microbeads for cleaning products or pellets for industrial use). This paper reviews the current state of knowledge on their human health implications and effects on ecosystems. 

24 February 2020

This report from the global wildlife foundation WWF assesses the global economic impacts of nature loss. It finds that under a business-as-usual scenario, global GDP in 2050 could be 0.67% lower than if six ecosystems services (crop pollination, carbon storage, marine fisheries, protection of coasts from flooding/erosion, water supply and timber production) remain unchanged - a cumulative cost of US$10 trillion. A global conservation strategy could increase global GDP by 0.02% in 2050 relative to no change in these six ecosystems services.

24 February 2020

In this paper, FCRN member Erasmus zu Ermgassen finds that voluntary zero deforestation commitments (ZDCs) cover more than 90% of the soy exported from the Brazilian Amazon, but only 47% of soy exported from the Brazilian Cerrado biome (a type of wooded savannah). 

Pages