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how does biodiversity enhance food security

how does biodiversity enhance food security插图

Not only does increased biodiversity contribute to nutrient production and consumption, but it acts as a safeguard against food shortages due to pests and diseases by spreading the risk.Biodiversity can improve dietary diversityin such a way to ultimately contribute to improved food and nutrition security.Author:Carmen van Niekerk, Hettie Schnfeldt, Nicolette Hall, Beulah PretoriusPublish Year:2016

Why do we need to conserve biodiversity in agriculture?

Globally, biodiversity for food and agriculture is in decline. This poses a serious risk to global food security and makes agriculture less resilient to climate change, pests and diseases. We need more sustainable food production systems to better conserve and sustainably use biodiversity.

What is the role of biodiversity in human nutrition?

Biodiversity plays a crucial role in human nutrition through its influence on world food production, as it ensures the sustainable productivity of soils and provides the genetic resources for all crops, livestock, and marine species harvested for food. Access to a sufficiency of a nutritious variety of food is a fundamental determinant of health.

Can biodiversity help to address global food security?

Addressing food security is a top global priority as illustrated in Goal 2 of achieving “Zero Hunger” of the Sustainable Development Goals. In seeking to achieve this goal, UN countries recognize the unique role of role of biodiversity in delivering food security, which is a prerequisite for ending hunger.

How does biodiversity affect human health and wellbeing?

The loss of these resources can create the conditions responsible for morbidity or mortality. Biodiversity supports human and societal needs, including food and nutrition security, energy, development of medicines and pharmaceuticals and freshwater, which together underpin good health.

Why is biodiversity important?

In other words, biodiversity is inextricably linked to our ability of produce and grow food. As a result, protecting biodiversity and managing our resources sustainably is not just an exercise to engage in for preserving unique features of our planet; it is actually vital to our survival. References.

What is the unseen factor in food production?

Biodiversity is often the unseen factor underlying food production. Whereas a lot of us think that intensive farming techniques or farming at ever increasing spaces of land, pesticides, fertilisers and potentially even the use of genetically modified crops can help increase food production and help ensure food security, …

What are the advantages and disadvantages of biotechnology in agriculture?

Further reading: Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Biotechnology in Agriculture. Food production relies on biodiversity and on the multiple services provided by ecosystems. It would be impossible to cultivate thousands and thousands of different crop varieties and animal breeds without the rich genetic pool of the species they originated from.

What percentage of livestock are at risk of extinction?

A similar picture emerges for livestock. While we are generally unaware of it, 20 percent of all global local livestock breeds, meaning breeds reported in only one country, are at risk of extinction.

What are the key inputs for food production?

We need to recognise that land, healthy soils, water and plant genetic resources are key inputs into food production, and their growing scarcity in many parts of the world makes it imperative to use and manage them sustainably [4].

How many people lack dietary energy?

According to UN data, more than 790 million people worldwide still lack regular access to adequate amounts of dietary energy [1].

Why are microorganisms important to agriculture?

acari and springtails) are essential to agriculture as they ensure natural processes can take place contributing to important functions, such as soil fertility.

What does biodiversity mean for human health?

People depend on biodiversity in their daily lives, in ways that are not always apparent or appreciated. Human health ultimately depends upon ecosystem products and services (such as availability of fresh water, food and fuel sources) which are requisite for good human health and productive livelihoods. Biodiversity loss can have significant direct human health impacts if ecosystem services are no longer adequate to meet social needs. Indirectly, changes in ecosystem services affect livelihoods, income, local migration and, on occasion, may even cause or exacerbate political conflict.

How are nutrition and biodiversity related?

Nutrition and biodiversity are linked at many levels: the ecosystem, with food production as an ecosystem service; the species in the ecosystem and the genetic diversity within species. Nutritional composition between foods and among varieties/cultivars/breeds of the same food can differ dramatically, affecting micronutrient availability in the diet. Healthy local diets, with adequate average levels of nutrients intake, necessitates maintenance of high biodiversity levels.

What are the health effects of biodiversity loss?

Biodiversity changes affect ecosystem functioning and significant disruptions of ecosystems can result in life sustaining ecosystem goods and services. Biodiversity loss also means that we are losing, before discovery, many of nature’s chemicals and genes, of the kind that have already provided humankind with enormous health benefits.

What are the benefits of biodiversity?

The loss of these resources can create the conditions responsible for morbidity or mortality. Biodiversity supports human and societal needs, including food and nutrition security, energy, development of medicines and pharmaceuticals and freshwater, which together underpin good health.

How does biodiversity affect human nutrition?

Biodiversity plays a crucial role in human nutrition through its influence on world food production, as it ensures the sustainable productivity of soils and provides the genetic resources for all crops, livestock, and marine species harvested for food. Access to a sufficiency of a nutritious variety …

How does biodiversity affect the ecosystem?

Marine biodiversity is affected by ocean acidification related to levels of carbon in the atmosphere. Terrestrial biodiversity is influenced by climate variability, such as extreme weather events (ie drought, flooding) that directly influence ecosystem health and the productivity and availability of ecosystem goods and services for human use. Longer term changes in climate affect the viability and health of ecosystems, influencing shifts in the distribution of plants, pathogens, animals, and even human settlements.

Why is biodiversity important?

Importance of biodiversity for health research and traditional medicine. Traditional medicine continue to play an essential role in health care, especially in primary health care. Traditional medicines are estimated to be used by 60% of the world’s population and in some countries are extensively incorporated into the public health system.

What to do?

The FAO stresses that we need to increase our understanding of the role of biodiversity for ecological processes and food production. People must then use the knowledge to develop new management strategies to act accordingly. Next, effective establishment is required to implement the strategies on ecosystem levels. The conclusion is very simple:

How does biodiversity change?

These services, also known as ecosystem services, support human food and agricultural production. Besides climate change, also international markets and demography cause major impacts on biodiversity. They result for example in change of land-use, increased pollution, over harvesting, and proliferation of invasive species. The reason why this happens, depends mostly on urbanisation, trade markets, and of course our own food preferences. However, the impacts are not solely negative. It also provides changes for more sustainable development, using biodiversity friendly products on markets.

How does biodiversity help the planet?

It contributes to the biodiversity on our planet. Think about domesticated plants and animals for crop, livestock, forest and aquaculture productions. Even wildlife that is hunted for consumption, contributes to our food supply. Yet, biodiversity is not only existing to serve the human hunger. Biodiversity ensures a certain level of resilience …

Why is biodiversity important?

Biodiversity ensures a certain level of resilience of ecosystems. This means that an ecosystem can better cope with disruptions and stresses. For example, such stresses can be weather extremes, increasing average temperature, and climate change in general. Humans tend to use biodiversity to maximise our food production, …

What are the negative impacts of biodiversity?

Most negative impacts are the results of inappropriate agricultural practices. Bad land and water management is by far the driver with the highest negative impact.

How many countries implement biodiversity friendly practices?

This means a sustainable use and conservation of resources, integrated in agricultural management at ecosystem level. Four out of five countries confirm to implement at least one of these practices. To which extent implementation takes place, is yet unclear. However, it many cases this is not enough. Species protection and conservation remains critically undervalued and poorly implemented.

What is the FAO report?

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) published a detailed assessment report addressing the impact of biodiversity loss on our food resources. The report describes how biodiversity plays a crucial role for the food and agricultural sectors. By identifying different drivers of change of biodiversity, …

Why is biodiversity important for food security?

Biodiversity for food and agriculture is vital for food security. The erosion of biodiversity will undermine the capacity of agricultural systems to adapt to changing conditions and shocks, such as climate change, and outbreaks of pests and diseases that may jeopardise food security and livelihoods. For example, in 1970, the Southern Corn Leaf …

What is biodiversity in agriculture?

Biodiversity for food and agriculture includes the domesticated plants and animals raised in crop, livestock, forest and aquaculture systems, harvested forest and aquatic species, the wild relatives of domesticated species, other wild species harvested for food and other products. Furthermore, it also entails “associated biodiversity” which makes …

What are the main drivers of biodiversity loss?

Yet while crop and livestock agriculture, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture are made up of and rely on a complex web of living organisms, they have become one of the major drivers of biodiversity loss. Agrobiodiversity.

How has Vietnam reduced hunger?

A farmer with a cow in a rice field in Vietnam. The country has reduced hunger by promoting intensive agriculture © FAO / Hoang Dinh Nam

What is the state of biodiversity?

The State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture, published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), highlights the erosion of the diversity of the plants, animals and micro-organisms that sustain food production systems (FAO, 2019). Once lost, biodiversity for food and agriculture cannot be recovered.

Why do we need to store samples in seed banks?

As an additional insurance, samples need to be stored in gene- and local seed banks to safeguard the diversity of plant and animal genetic resources for future research and breeding.

How many species are threatened by extinction?

It is estimated that due to human-induced environmental changes and based on current trends, one million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction ( IPBES, 2019 ).

What are the most calories in rural India?

Most of the calories consumed in rural India are from cereals such as wheat, rice, millet, and sorghum that are rich in carbohydrates but less nutritious in terms of protein and micronutrient contents. Hence, in addition to total calories consumed we calculated the number of calories consumed from more nutritious foods to assess dietary quality. In the category “more nutritious foods”, we include pulses, fruits, vegetables, and all animal products (i.e., milk, milk products, meat, fish, and eggs). Recent research suggests that the share of calories consumed from higher value, non-staple foods can also be used as an indicator of nutritional sufficiency [29]. The reason is that poor and undernourished households will largely choose foods that are the cheapest available sources of calories, namely cereals in the context of rural India. Only when they have surpassed subsistence, consumers will begin to substitute towards foods that are more expensive sources of calories [29].

How does Bt adoption affect calorie consumption?

To estimate the impact of Bt cotton adoption on calorie consumption, we regress total daily calorie consumption per AE on Bt adoption, measured as the number of hectares of Bt cotton grown by a household in a particular year. Since Bt adoption increases farm profits and household incomes [23], we expect a positive and significant treatment effect. However, calorie consumption is also influenced by other factors that need to be controlled for. We control for education of the household head (measured in terms of the number of years of schooling); education plays an important role for both income generation and consumption behavior. We also include a variable for household size (measured in terms of AE). Moreover, we control for farm size in terms of area owned, which is a proxy for agricultural asset ownership more generally. Farm income is not included in the model, as this is directly influenced by Bt adoption. However, off-farm income, measured in US$ per year, is controlled for. We also include state dummies for Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu (Maharashtra is the reference state), capturing climatic and agroecological differences. Given the panel structure of the data with four survey rounds, we use year dummies for 2004, 2006, and 2008 (2002 is the reference year).

How does food security work?

Food security exists when all people have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food. Unfortunately, food security does not exist for a significant proportion of the world population. Around 900 million people are undernourished, meaning that they are undersupplied with calories [1]. Many more suffer from specific nutritional deficiencies, often related to insufficient intake of micronutrients. Eradicating hunger is a central part of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals [2]. But how to achieve this goal is debated controversially. Genetically modified (GM) crops are sometimes mentioned in this connection. Some see the development and use of GM crops as key to reduce hunger [3], [4], while others consider this technology as a further risk to food security [5], [6]. Solid empirical evidence to support either of these views is thin.

How does genetically modified food affect food security?

The role of genetically modified (GM) crops for food security is the subject of public controversy. GM crops could contribute to food production increases and higher food availability. There may also be impacts on food quality and nutrient composition. Finally, growing GM crops may influence farmers’ income and thus their economic access to food. Smallholder farmers make up a large proportion of the undernourished people worldwide. Our study focuses on this latter aspect and provides the first ex postanalysis of food security impacts of GM crops at the micro level. We use comprehensive panel data collected over several years from farm households in India, where insect-resistant GM cotton has been widely adopted. Controlling for other factors, the adoption of GM cotton has significantly improved calorie consumption and dietary quality, resulting from increased family incomes. This technology has reduced food insecurity by 15–20% among cotton-producing households. GM crops alone will not solve the hunger problem, but they can be an important component in a broader food security strategy.

How much land does a farm household own?

Descriptive statistics are shown in Table 2. The average farm household owns 5 ha of land, without a significant difference between Bt adopters and non-adopters. Around half of this area is grown with cotton. Other crops cultivated include wheat, millet, sorghum, pulses, and in some locations rice, among others. Households are relatively poor; average annual per capita consumption expenditures range between 300 and 500 US$.

How do GM crops affect food security?

First, GM crops could contribute to food production increases and thus improve the availability of food at global and local levels. Second, GM crops could affect food safety and food quality. Third, GM crops could influence the economic and social situation of farmers, thus improving or worsening their economic access to food. This latter aspect is of particular importance given that an estimated 50% of all undernourished people worldwide are small-scale farmers in developing countries [7].

How does GM technology affect food supply?

In regard to the first pathway, GM technologies could make food crops higher yielding and more robust to biotic and abiotic stresses [8], [9]. This could stabilize and increase food supplies, which is important against the background of increasing food demand, climate change, and land and water scarcity. In 2012, 170 million hectares (ha) – around 12% of the global arable land – were planted with GM crops, such as soybean, corn, cotton, and canola [10], but most of these crops were not grown primarily for direct food use. While agricultural commodity prices would be higher without the productivity gains from GM technology [11], impacts on food availability could be bigger if more GM food crops were commercialized. Lack of public acceptance is one of the main reasons why this has not yet happened more widely [12].

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