Biodiversity matters


Biodiversity is the sum of all terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems, species and genetic diversity. It includes the variability within and among living organisms and the ecological complexes of which they are part. FAO recognizes biodiversity as being integral to agriculture, and is committed to working with governments and other key actors to mainstream biodiversity as a vital element of sustainable agriculture.

The Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition is holding an online consultation on Mainstreaming biodiversity in agriculture, fisheries and forestry for improved food security and better nutrition, which will conclude on 29 May. Below are some FAO titles on this theme that might inspire you to join the conversion.

For further reading, see the Publications catalogue.

Sustainable agriculture for biodiversity: Biodiversity for sustainable agriculture
This booklet presents FAO’s work on mainstreaming biodiversity as a cross-cutting theme in the agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors. It provides examples of on-the-ground activities and highlights relevant international mechanisms.

Voluntary guidelines for mainstreaming biodiversity into policies, programmes and national and regional plans of action on nutrition
Appropriate use ofbiodiversity for foodand agriculture innutrition and agricultureprogrammes is a keymeans of addressingmalnutrition in all itsforms. The Commissionon Genetic Resourcesfor Food and Agricultureendorsed these VoluntaryGuidelines, with the aimof helping countriesmake the best useof biodiversity in theirnutrition programmes.

Biodiversity for food and agriculture: Contributing to food security and sustainability in a changing world
This publication summarizes the major challenges expected over the next 40 years and offers a perspective on the fundamental changes needed to ensure that biodiversity contributes to sustainable and productive systems.

The second report on the State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for food and agriculture
This publication provides a comprehensive and timely assessment of livestock biodiversity and trends in animal genetic resources management and identifies the knowledge gaps that will have to be filled in order to tackle current challenges.

The State of the World’s Forest genetic Resources
Biodiversity in forest genetic resources is essential to improving species’ productivity and the nutritional value of the foods they produce – including leafy vegetables, honey, fruits, seeds, nuts, roots, tubers and mushrooms. This report makes recommendations to address threats to biodiversity and analyses the drivers of change and relevant emerging technologies.

The second report on the State of the World’s Plant Genetic Resources for food and agriculture
Based on information gathered from country reports and a wealth of other documents, this publication tracks developments in the field of plant genetic resources between 1996 and 2010.

Further reading 

Sustainable diets and biodiversity: Directions and solutions for policy, research and action

Gardens of biodiversity: Conservation of genetic resources and their use in traditional food production systems by small farmers of the Southern Caucasus

Guidelines on assessing biodiverse foods in dietary intake surveys

Principles for the assessment of livestock impacts on biodiversity

Also forthcoming 

The State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture

Review of the state of the world’s fishery resources: Inland fisheries

Trees, forests and land use in drylands – the First Global Drylands Assessment: full report

Food and nutrition security country indicators: regional handbook for Europe and Central Asia