Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture

Biodiversity provides the raw materials, the combinations of genes, which produce the plant varieties and animal breeds upon which agriculture depends. Climate change threatens biodiversity and impacts ecosystem functions, including those important for food supply. By the end of the century, climate change is expected to become the main driver of biodiversity. Then, the resilience of many ecosystems is likely to be exceeded resulting from changes in climate and associated disturbances (e.g. droughts, fire, pests, ocean acidification) and other global change drivers. These trends could exacerbate the vulnerability of millions of people who are already food insecure and have a low capacity to adapt to the changing conditions.

On the other hand, biodiversity in all its components (e.g. genes, species, ecosystems) increases resilience to changing environmental conditions and stresses. Thus, the value of genetically-diverse populations and species-rich natural and agricultural ecosystems will increase in future with the need for adaptation to climate change.


FAO hosts the Secretariat of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, where Members discuss issues and action plans for the conservation and sustainable management of biodiversity for food and agriculture and support capacity-building in improved management and conservation of land, water and genetic resources, agricultural water management, water use efficiency and productivity, and best practices for water use and conservation, through the continuum from water sources to final uses.

FAO also promotes the use of indigenous and locally-adapted plants and animals as well as the selection and multiplication of varieties and autochthonous races adapted or resistant to adverse conditions.


last updated:  Wednesday, December 5, 2012