Forum global sur la sécurité alimentaire et la nutrition (Forum FSN)

Mainstreaming biodiversity in agriculture, fisheries and forestry for improved food security and better nutrition

Mithare Prasad 
Assistant Professor (Agronomy), Department of ILFC, KVAFSU, Bidar-Karnataka, India
  • Biodiversity is a broad term in which origin of different species of plants (Crops), Animals (Livestock) and Microorganism are involved in it and also its genera and variety. When the biodiversity is related to agriculture sector it is called as Agro-Ecosystem which include Agriculture and Non-Agriculture aspects in which the aquaculture, soil ecosystem are also part of it. The major field of agro-ecosystem is Agro-Pastoral system, Aquaculture system, Different Cropping Systems and all together called as Integrated farming system or mixed farming system.

  • Integrated Farming System approach: It play a vital role in minimizing the risk of crop failure due to aberrant weather conditions. Cultivation of crops along with different components like Agro-Forestry, Dairy Farming, Goat/Sheep Farming, Poultry Farming, Aquaculture, Duck Farming, Sericulture and Honey Bee Farming will be a great source of generating continuous income per unit area without effecting the eco-system and Organic Farming & Sustainable agriculture is a way of protecting the ecosystem.

  • Farmer should give more scope towards organic farming for getting higher income with by minimizing the input cost. It also have many advantages over conventional farming like; Maintain soil fertility, Soil health, Increase organic matter content of soil, reduce compaction, Increase soil flora & fauna, Increase soil microbial activity, Increase nutrient use efficiency, Increase water holding capacity, Increase ground water table, Prevent soil pollution, Produce Pesticides residue free food, Environmental safe, maintain eco-System and diversity, Ultimately all these reduces the cost of production and increase the Net income of the farmers without disturbing the ecosystem.

  • Farmers should practice LEISA (Low External Input Sustainable Agriculture) to minimize the input cost by reducing the chemical inputs such as Fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, plant growth hormones etc which are harming the ecosystem rapidly.

  • Sustainable forming is not just a matter of reducing certain inputs like chemical pesticides  and fertilizers, but rather instituting farming methods that emphasize soil building practices (e.g.: crop residues, animal and green manures), natural pest control ,crop and livestock diversity and crop rotation. Regularly adding to crop organic residues and manures is another central feature of sustainable farming.

  • Biodiversity is an important contribution to food security and improved nutrition, many extra ordinary examples of soil microorganism which play a vital role in soil functions that sustain crop growth. Grassland eco system have abundance amount of micro flora of beneficial organism like bacteria, fungi, actinomycetes and algae, which are involved in decomposition and of higher C: N ratio and recycling of nutrients, which are essential for plant growth and food production.

  • The ecosystem has many stages of food and nutrient recycling as in which Primary Producer - Secondary Producer – Primary Consumer - Secondary Consumer - Decomposers. In this process, mycophytic reducers also play important role in the ecosystem.

  • Biodiversification of food and nutritional security: India is the agriculture based country in which 60 % of population is involved in Agricultural activates in which various agro-climatic conditions and zones are involved, comprising for Tropical, Semi-Tropical and Temperate eco-system is present. India is one of the leading producers of various agriculture crops like; Cereals, pulses, oilseeds, fruits, vegetables, spices, medicinal and aromatic crops.

  • Family Farming Approach will be the prominent concept in maintaining the biodiversity and eco-system. Family Farming: It is very old concept but very effective approach in agriculture. Adopting this approach a farmer is capable of self sustainable & self sufficient to feed his family for year round, by which ultimately the poverty is prevented to major extent. Examples:- Growing of (Cereals + Pulses + Oilseeds + Fruits + Vegetables + Fibre + Fodder)

  • Shelterbelts are effective approach in Mainstreaming biodiversity in agriculture forestry for improved food security and better nutrition: Shelterbelts are linear plantings combining trees, shrubs and plants designed to alter the flow of wind or snow, thereby altering the microclimate in an immediate area to make it more habitable for crops, wildlife, livestock and dwellings. Shelterbelts are also called windbreaks, hedgerows, timber belts, living fences or conservation buffers. Few important Advantages of Shelter Belts are moderating effect on temperature & it can increase or decrease the temperature. It retards the evaporation & increases the soil moisture. It reduces the wind velocity and wind erosion of soil. It increases the fruit production by minimizing wind damage.

Benefits of Shelter Belt

  1. Reduced soil erosion by wind: A field shelterbelt modifies the microclimate, mostly in its downwind vicinity. This modified microclimate includes reduced wind speed and, therefore, reduced soil erosion.

  2. Reduced wind damage to crops: Crops benefit from the reduced wind speeds in the protected zone. The plants are less likely to be twisted by the wind or sandblasted by eroding particles.

  3. Increased moisture for crop growth: Shelterbelts reduce evaporation and provide more moisture for crop growth. Field shelterbelts use moisture and nutrients from a greater depth than most annual crops.

  4. Potential for increased crop yields: Most of the research conducted around the world reports yield increases due to field shelterbelts. In drought-prone prairie regions that receive snow in winter, about half the yield increase is attributed to extra moisture from snow trapping by shelterbelts.

Factors affecting ecological balance:

  • Deforestation and overgrazing of range lands.

  • Accelerated soil erosion, Irrigation related problems.

  • Over exploitation of ground water.

  • Indiscriminate use of agrochemicals like chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

  • Deforestation and overgrazing of range lands: Perennial vegetation such as trees and grasses successfully prevent soil erosion and runoff from fallows. Forests influence climate of a region due to their effect on wind direction and hence the rainfall. Deforestation and overgrazing modifies the climate and the biodiversity besides loss of valuable genetic resources used in breeding programme for developing high yielding cultivars.

  • Accelerated soil erosion, Irrigation related problems: Accelerated soil erosion is currently a major environmental problem in tropical and sub tropical areas of the world as a consequence of population growth and demand for food. When once the vegetative cover is lost, the bare soil is exposed to the vagaries of wind and intensive rains leading to accelerated soil erosion. The productive soil is lost, making the soil unsuitable for crop production. Runoff from arable land contributes to nutrient enrichment (Eutrophication) of the water into which it drains.

  • Over exploitation of ground water: Poor quality water is one of the main factors turning good soils into saline or sodic soils. Provision of irrigation, without adequate drainage leads to the same problems as that with poor quality water. Many canal irrigated lands have become unproductive due to salt problems and ground water table. Total area is suffering from water logging ranges between 6 and 8.5 mha while that affected by salinity is around 9 mha

  • Indiscriminate use of agrochemicals like chemical fertilizers and pesticides: Surplus soluble inorganic fertilizers, particularly nitrogen which have not taken up by the plants are leached out of the system. Others such as phosphorus and potassium are not so susceptible to loss by leaching as is nitrogen, except under abnormal condition. Overuse and abuse of chemical fertilizers harm the biological power of the soil.  Use of pesticides to control animal pests (insecticides), Plant diseases (fungicides) and weeds (herbicides) to cope up with crop protection opened the doors for several problems. Exclusive reliance on chemical pesticides has resulted in problems such as pesticide resistance, resurgence, residues and environmental pollution.