Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Agricultural biodiversity

28 January 2014

In this article, researchers consider the impacts of climate mitigation efforts on biodiversity and suggest that the negative consequences could in fact be equal to or exceed the direct effects of climate change on biodiversity. Looking specifically at one of the most likely human responses to curb climate change effects in agriculture - land use - the researchers analyse how changes in agricultural farming practices could impact conservation lands.

22 January 2014

This publication forms part of a larger series published by Earthscan/Routledge in association with Biodiversity Iinternational, entitled Issues in Agricultural Biodiversity. The volume explores the current state of knowledge on the role of agricultural biodiversity in improving diets, nutrition and food security. Using examples and case studies from around the globe, the book explores current strategies for improving nutrition and diets and identifies key research and implementation gaps that need to be addressed to successfully promote the better use of agricultural biodiversity for rural and urban populations and societies in transition.

19 December 2013

This paper, which looks at the impact of agricultural intensification on soils across Europe, suggests that differences in the intensity of land use significantly affects soil ecosystems and the services they provide. High intensity arable land use is found to a have lower diversity and biomass of soil organisms than lower intensity arable or permanent grassland, and that this affects the carbon and nitrogen cycles in the environment.

17 September 2013

Researchers at the Stockholm Environment Institute in York have built a model that looks at the pressure that UK consumption activities place on biodiversity overseas. The model, funded by  Defra, provides a framework for assessing the links between goods and services consumed in the UK but imported from overseas to potential impacts of their production on biodiversity in their country of origin. The model can be used to explore the impacts of over 200 agricultural products (and many other products of non-agricultural systems, e.g. mining, forestry and fisheries), and can break down consumption impacts resulting from demand from specific product groups.

2 July 2013

The book summary says the following: Farmers' Rights are essential for maintaining crop genetic diversity, which is the basis of all food and agricultural production in the world. The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture recognizes Farmers' Rights and provides for relevant measures. However, implementation is slow, and in many countries there is resistance. This book shows the necessity of realizing Farmers' Rights for poverty alleviation and food security, the practical possibilities of doing so, and the potential gains for development and society at large.

2 July 2013

A paper published in the Journal of Applied Ecology finds that grassland plots planted with a mixture of several agricultural plant species produced a greater yield than plots planted with a single species. The EU-funded study explored whether different combinations and proportions of agricultural plants can lead to higher yields with lower input of fertilisers and more efficient use of land. Intensively managed agricultural grasslands, cultivated to provide food for livestock, have the potential to support, or damage, a range of ecosystem services, depending on how they are managed.

22 April 2013

Currently 925 million people are undernourished and 195 million children under five years of age are stunted. At the same time, over 1 billion people are overweight and obese in both the developed and developing world. Diseases previously associated with affluence, such as cancer, diabetes and cardio-vascular disease, are on the rise.

18 December 2012

This new book addresses how the collective pooling and management of shared plant genetic resources for food and agriculture can be supported through laws regulating access to genetic resources and the sharing of benefits arising from their use. 

26 November 2012

Euractiv.com has posted an article detailing how some EU national governments and lawmakers are pushing to weaken green farming proposals in the next Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). With the economic crisis still lingering, there is more focus on boosting farm production to create jobs, and to address concerns about tighter food supplies and higher prices driven by worldwide droughts.

19 November 2012

Scientists at Technische Universität München (TUM) have come up with a new land development concept tailored to medium-sized farms in South America that sees farmers transitioning from large-scale monoculture to more diverse crop mixtures spread over smaller plots interspersed with wooded areas. Their study, published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, evaluated the economic viability of this model, based on a typical medium-sized agricultural holding, and found that although costs are higher in the beginning as a result of reforestation, the combination of woodland management and smaller plots of land pays off in the long term.

2 November 2012

The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) recently produced an infographic on the food security implications of meat consumption, including health and nutrition, biodiversity and climate risks, and impact on poverty.

To view it, click here.

2 November 2012

In August 2012, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), responding to a request from the United Nations’ Committee on Food Security, asked experts from CGIAR’s 15 research centers to summarize the effects of climate change on 22 of the most important agricultural commodities and 3 critical natural resources in the developing world.

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