Biodiversity
 

Biodiversity @ FAO

Socio-economics

The way that agricultural production systems are managed is one of the most important factors globally affecting biodiversity conservation and sustainable use – or lack of it. The decisions on how to manage agricultural systems are in turn driven by socio-economic factors such as the benefits and costs farmers and land managers realize in adopting different approaches. Institutions and policies also affect the incentives and constraints farmers face in making their management decisions. Over the next few decades agricultural systems will be under tremendous pressure to transform in order to meet the livelihood and food requirements of growing populations, particularly in areas where food insecurity is currently concentrated. A key question is how these transformations can be accomplished while at the same time improving biodiversity conservation and sustainable use.

A key question is how agricultural transformations can be accomplished while at the same time improving biodiversity conservation and sustainable use.

To provide insights to the answer to this question, FAO has developed various programs of work assessing the benefits and costs of various forms of biodiversity in agricultural systems and the ways in which institutions and policies affect farm level incentives for conservation and sustainable use. Additionally, since men and women farmers are active managers and users of biodiversity, FAO also explores the roles and incentives people themselves face in biodiversity management and conservation. One is the “Using Markets to Promote the Sustainable Utilization of Crop Genetic Resources” programme that consists of case studies from five different countries. These case studies assess how seed supply in local agricultural markets affects the farm level incentives for managing crop genetic diversity. Another example is the Payments for Environmental Services in Agricultural Landscapes (PESAL) project that aims at improving knowledge and capacity for using payments for ecosystem services to improve environmental benefits generated by agricultural systems.

©FAO/J. Spaull