NSP - Case studies on agricultural biodiversity and ecosystem services

Case studies on agricultural biodiversity and ecosystem services 



Achieving food security sustainability

Report of the outcomes of an Expert Workshop held by FAO and the Platform on Agrobiodiversity Research in April 2010.

The Workshop explored the different challenges that confront agriculture and the options that exist or could be developed and that would be needed to feed the world, cope with climate change and capitalize on synergies between agriculture and the environment.

A section with conclusions identifies a number of actions that are likely to create the framework for the needed redirection of agriculture.

Climate change and biodiversity for food and agriculture

Technical background document from the expert consultation held on 13 to 14 February 2008.

On February 2008, FAO and Bioversity International held an international workshop on Climate Change and Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture, in partnership with the Platform for Agrobiodiversity Research (PAR) and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The aim of the workshop was to contribute to the on-going debates of the international community on climate change, food security and biodiversity.

Biodiversity and the ecosystem approach in agriculture, forestry and fisheries

A Satellite Event on Biodiversity and the Ecosystem Approach in Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries was held on the occasion of the Ninth Regular Session of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, in FAO, Rome, 12-13 October 2002.

The event was organized by the FAO Inter-Departmental Working Group on Biological Diversity for Food and Agriculture1in support of the recommendation of the Seventh Session of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture which mentioned that “countries were encouraged to develop strategies, programmes and plans for agro-biodiversity in conformity with an ecosystem approach”.

Managing Plant Genetic Resources in the Agro-ecosystem: Global Change, Crop-associated Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services


This study explores ecosystem goods and services provided by plant genetic resources for food and agriculture and crop and crop-associated biodiversity (PGRFA-CCAB), deployment of plant genetic resources in production and their interactions with crop and crop-associated biodiversity (e.g. pest and disease organisms and pollinators), with the objective of identifying ways to optimize the goods and services they provide. This is done within the context of current global changes and challenges facing agriculture.

Agricultural biodiversity in FAO


FAO’s goal is to alleviate poverty and hunger by promoting sustainable agricultural development, improved nutrition and food security, and the access of all people at all times to the food they need for an active and healthy life. The importance of biological diversity for food security was reconfirmed in commitment No.3 of the Rome Declaration on Food Security made at the World Food Summit held in Rome in 1996. FAO is actively promoting the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity for food and agriculture.

Agricultural biodiversity in Lao PDR

Lao PDR is a biodiversity mega-diverse country, and one of Vavilov’s “Centres of Origin” of domesticated plants. The people of Lao PDR make tremendous use of this biodiversity, particularly in the agriculture sector, which by far is the most important economic sector in the country. Over 80 percent of the labour force is employed within the agriculture sector, which is largely  subsistence agriculture that is characterized by low inputs and low outputs.

In Lao PDR, a wide-range of wild plants and animals contribute significantly to day-to-day basic nutrition of both rural and urban residents.

Building on gender, agrobiodiversity and local knowledge: a training manual

It is apparent, when working with this Training manual, that agrobiodiversity and food security are complex issues that need careful consideration. The myth that technologies taught to farmers will ease their poverty and hunger because the expertise or seeds provided are modern or new, persists in many contexts. This leads to positive results not materializing and rural farmers being faced with failed crops, or it is found that the technology applied is not appropriate to the particular situation.

Rural and Tribal Women in Agrobiodiversity Conservation: An Indian Case Study

The FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific acknowledges the intricate dynamics of indigenous women’s stewardship in the conservation and management of plant genetic resources of relevance to household food security. Hence, a programme area focuses on "Gender dimensions in  agrobiodiversity management for food security". Under this programme this publication is one of a series of studies, undertaken in collaboration with the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation in Chennai, India, to highlight the issues on tribal women’s role in Agrobiodiversity conservation and to provide examples of economic incentives for conservation.

Shaping local knowledge and agrobiodiversity: policies, institutions and processes

How do international laws affect those working with plant genetic resources (PGR) managers in national (government) programmes? How far are they obliged to obtain the prior informed consent (PIC) of indigenous peoples and local communities? When and how can plant genetic resources in food and agriculture (PGRFA) be accessed, used or exchanged? How can the associated related knowledge be used? In order to attempt to answer the above questions both existing international instruments, and those currently under development/negotiation are examined.

The Impact of HIV/AIDS and Drought on Local Knowledge Systems for Agrobiodiversity and Food Security

This study was conducted to determine the effects of HIV/AIDS and drought on the local knowledge systems for agro-biodiversity and food security in Swaziland, as recent years have seen an increase in both types of disaster. The livelihoods approach was used in this study to highlight the linkages between the impact of HIV/AIDS and drought on human, financial and social capital. The study found that there are numerous impacts of HIV/AIDS and drought on the different livelihood assets and the negative impacts are detrimental to food security and local knowledge for agro biodiversity.


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