Biodiversity, particularly genetic diversity, is threatened and being lost globally. With the erosion of these resources, mankind is losing the potential to adapt food and agriculture to changing conditions.
© Georg Gerster/Panos Pictures
Loss of genetic diversity can occur through poorly planned replacment of local varieties of crops for example. Genetic erosion can also result from impacts from invasive alien species, pests, weeds and diseases, land use changes and environmental degradation.
© Philippe Lissac/Panos Pictures
Of the 7,600 animal breeds, 1,500 are reported to be at risk of extinction or already extinct. The substitution of locally adapted breeds with a few commercial breeds, which is often not planned for the long-term, and the marginalization of livestock keepers from the decision –making processes are factors that can lead to the loss of genetic diversity.
© FAO/Giampiero Diana
Both climate changes and deforestation threaten forest genetic diversity. The limited scientific research on the genetic diversity of trees is a major impairment to understanding the potential human benefits of these resources. Loss of forest diversity greatly weakens the resilience of forest ecosystems.
© Sven Torfinn/Panos Pictures
Inadequate farming practices, such as wrong use of pesticides, may result in the loss of the insects, like pollinators, that provide benefits to food production.
© Konrad Wothe/Minden Pictures
The world’s aquatic diversity is threatened by overexploitation of fish stocks, environmental degradation and the introduction and spread of invasive alien species. With this loss of genetic diversity, further development of responsible aquaculture, food security and the livelihoods of fishing communities are also threatened.
© Andy Johnstone/Panos Pictures
Maintaining biodiversity for food and agriculture is a global responsibility and international cooperative efforts are needed to halt genetic erosion.
© A. Toledo