Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Plant biodiversity

11 June 2018

This book, edited by Alessandro Isoni, Michele Troisi and Maurizia Pierri, uses the concept of “food diversity” - diversity in many different factors in the food system, including crops and culture - as an overarching theme to gather work on many aspects of food, including genetic modification, promotion of local foods, food security, ethical purchasing and legal regulation.

4 June 2018

FCRN member Seth Cook of the International Institute for Environment and Development has written a discussion paper on the importance of agricultural biodiversity. The report notes that crop diversity is declining: today, just 30 crops supply 95% of food calories, with maize, rice, wheat and potatoes providing over 60%. For comparison, humans have domesticated or collected around 7000 species of food plants.

Image: Sheep81, Northern White Rhinoceros Angalifu, Wikimedia Commons, Public domain
22 May 2018

Although humans only make up 0.01% of life on Earth by weight, 83% of wild mammals and 15% of fish have been lost since the start of human civilisation, according to a new study. The study also finds that, of all mammals on Earth, 36% are humans, 60% are livestock and 4% are wild mammals, while 70% of birds are chicken and other poultry with only 30% being wild.

Photo: Glenn Hurowitz, Flickr, deforestation for oil palm, creative commons license 2.0
23 August 2016

In this analysis presented in the journal Nature, four conservation scientists warn against the current trend of over-reporting on climate change’s impacts on biodiversity. Instead, they find that by far the biggest drivers of biodiversity loss are overexploitation (the harvesting of species from the wild at rates that cannot be compensated for by reproduction or regrowth) and agriculture.

Photo: Bernard Dupont, Green Savannah, Flickr, Creative Commons licence 2.0
23 August 2016

In parts of the world such as sub-Saharan Africa, significant agricultural expansion into natural ecosystems is predictable and likely unavoidable. This study presents a newly developed modelling tool, designed to provide quantitative answers to problem of how agricultural expansion could be located in ways that meet agricultural production goals, but which incur substantially lower losses of carbon and biodiversity than conventional agricultural development pathways.

20 April 2016

This study looks into how residential landscapes in Chicago, USA, which constitute the largest single urban land use, benefit ecosystems. It argues that even though we often don’t associate modern urban areas with healthy ecosystems, home gardens in urban landscapes can contribute to important ecosystem services.

18 January 2016

In this paper, researchers from the Universities of Southampton and Reading compare how effective three different wildlife-friendly farming strategies are at supporting habitat diversity and species richness.

18 June 2015

This report by the UK’s Land Use Policy Group discusses The Role of Agroecology in Sustainable Intensification and highlights agroecology as a method to safeguard UK food security. The report was prepared by the Organic Research Centre in collaboration with the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust.

2 October 2014

The European Commission was due to publish a Communication on Sustainable Food in 2013 to “assess how best to limit waste throughout the food supply chain, and consider ways to lower the environmental impact of food production and consumption patterns”.  This long-awaited Communication has still not been published.

26 September 2013

This is the first time that Korean foods are listed in the Ark of Taste, an international slow-food catalogue showing foods that are in danger of extinction.  The new foods include seasoned beans, dwarf wheat, wild fowl, Hanson Lily and beef from cows raised on medicinal herbs.   The listing is part of an attempt to highlight the risk of extinction of these foods and encourage people to protect them.

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. 

24 September 2012

A paper published in Ecology Letters finds that ecosystems with a high degree of biodiversity can cope with more stress, such as higher temperatures or increasing salinity, than those with less biodiversity.

15 May 2012

Two studies, one in Nature and the other in Science present evidence to demonstrate the importance of biodiversity in maintaining long term ecosystem productivity and sustainability.

16 January 2012

A paper in Science reports on a study which finds a correlation betweeen species diversity and multifunctionality – ie the number of ecosystem services it performs.  The study focuses on drylands on all continents except Antarctica. It concludes that plant biodiversity is crucial to buffering the negative effects of climate change and desertification in drylands.