Gardens of Biodiversity
 
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Gardens of biodiversity is a publication of FAO that highlights the importance of maintaining the genetic resources of the Southern Caucasus and integrating state-of-the-art information and technologies with the traditional practices that proved to be so efficient in the past. It illustrates how a close, detailed study of local agro-ecological and social conditions can contribute to identify solutions for global problems, and how it is possible to build on the knowledge and selection of the best local resources and practices and efficient technologies to transform agriculture for sustainable development.

The Southern Caucasus region was paramount in the evolution and differentiation of various domesticated plant and animal species; moreover, the region saw the beginnings of farmers’ and pastoralists’ settlements in the early stages of agriculture. Throughout the ages, the region was home to many populations who learned how to make a living out of a rugged land, by developing skills and locally adapting techniques – such as selecting a wide range of crop varieties, livestock breeds and integrated crop-livestock systems – to adapt to cold winters, dry summers, pests, diseases and the introduction of alien species.

With admiration, this book that contains more than 500 photos, is dedicated to the people of the Southern Caucasus, and to the wealth of genetic resources resulting from their inspiration and work over the centuries. In managing their natural resources, these people have made an outstanding contribution to maintaining biodiversity and, as a consequence, to global food security. [more...]

The Southern Caucasus, comprising Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, has a unique combination of different climates, ranging from dry to humid and from subtropical to alpine, with four distinct seasons. With its variety of land and soils, and a long tradition in adapting farming practices to meet local needs, the region has been identified as one of the centres of origin of many plant species, and a centre of genetic differentiation. Indigenous populations are adept at managing their biodiversity, particularly in family gardens, to maximize food production and provide healthy and diversified diets.

Nevertheless, many ecosystems are at risk. Like other areas in the world, these ecosystems are experiencing the negative effects of weak past policies and management, pollution, overexploitation and, more recently, climate change.

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