Agricultural biodiversity. Farmers holding gourd diversity, Nepal.
Tens of thousands of alternative crops can substitute and complement these staples. Sorghum, millets and quinoa are examples of crops that can grow in difficult environments, have high nutrient content and have potential to increase their yields. Food biodiversity is a source of high-nutrient species and varieties. Many nutritious fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds available in the wild or in traditional farming systems are not well known and could be used to improve nutrition.
The Importance of Biodiversity to Food and Agricultural Systems across the Globe
Rice terraces, Nepal. Biodiversity-based solutions are at the heart of agroecological practices, which intensify production while reducing pressures on the environment.
SANBI and other partners including government and non-government continue to work hard regarding agriculture and biodiversity conservation, and this has resulted in a number of sustainable agriculture or eco-agriculture initiatives as well as various tools for managing a sustainable farm. Stewardship on agricultural land has also become an important conservation tool.
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Agricultural biodiversity includes all components of biological diversity of relevance to food and agriculture. Animal genetic resources include domesticated animals, wild animals hunted for food, wild and farmed fish and other aquatic organisms, insect pollinators and microbial and fungal genetic resources. Agricultural biodiversity provides humans with food, raw materials for goods such as: cotton and wool for clothing; wood for shelter and fuel; plants and roots for medicines; and materials for biofuels.
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Agricultural biodiversity also performs ecosystem services such as soil and water conservation, maintenance of soil fertility, conservation of biota and pollination of plants, all of which are essential for food production and for human survival. In addition, genetic diversity of agricultural biodiversity provides species with the ability to adapt to changing environments and to evolve by increasing their adaptation to frost, high temperature, drought and waterlogging as well as their resistances to diseases, insects and parasites.
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- • Biodiversity and agriculture.
The importance of agricultural biodiversity encompasses socio-cultural, economic and environmental elements. All domesticated crops and animals result from management of biodiversity, which is constantly responding to new challenges to maintain and increase productivity under constantly varying conditions and population pressures. Agricultural biodiversity is essential to satisfy basic human needs for food and livelihood security.