Biodiversity
 

Biodiversity @ FAO

Ecosystem approach

The ecosystem approach is a strategy for the integrated management of land, water and living resources that promotes conservation and sustainable use in an equitable way. It is based on the application of appropriate scientific methodologies focused on levels of biological organization which encompass the essential processes, functions and interactions among organisms and their environment, and recognizes that humans, with their cultural diversity, are an integral component of ecosystems.

An ecosystem approach to agriculture and natural resource management explicitly identifies opportunities and trade-offs. It can preserve or increase the capacity of an ecosystem to produce benefits for the society, fairly apportions benefits and costs, and is sustainable over the longer-term. The ecosystem approach to agriculture requires adjustments in institutional and governance arrangements that ensure informed, balanced, transparent and legitimate decision making in relation to trade-offs and stakeholder participation.

The ecosystem approach is a strategy for the integrated management of land, water and living resources that promotes conservation and sustainable use in an equitable way.

Ecosystem approaches are applied to specific elements in FAO’s work, and most notably, through its work:

  • in achieving sustainable crop production intensification through an ecosystem approach and an enabling environment, and capturing efficiency through ecosystem services and management;
  • as part of the One Health concept and in management of natural resources, including animal genetic resources in livestock production;
  • in both marine fisheries and aquaculture in supporting fisheries resources and sustainable use and production;
  • in forests, with work on technical, policy and legal support to ecosystem approaches.
  • as a key strategy to reconcile food security and the environmental conservation through programmes such as: (i) the Multi-Year Programme of Work of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture; (ii) Sustainable Land Management for enhancing land-derived goods and services; and (iii) the multi-sectoral organic agriculture programme that assists countries to optimize their performance in producing, processing and marketing according to existing biophysical and socio-economic resources.
©FAO/ H. Null