2012 is coming to a close with some fanfare, and major events on the horizon provide exciting opportunities to give voice to the nexus of sustainable agriculture, conservation, and rural livelihoods. The 11th Conference of the Parties for the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP11), occurring every other year, takes place from 8-19 October in Hyderabad, India. This year’s theme, ‘Nature Protects if she is Protected,’ gets to the very heart and spirit of Landscapes for People, Food and Nature – that making agricultural systems more in-line with the health of natural systems is essential to protecting the well-being of people.
The work programme on agricultural biodiversity within the CBD focuses its efforts on the conservation and sustainable use of pollinators and soil biodiversity, and imprpving nutrition. Moreover, the programme of work adopts an ‘ecosystem approach‘ to managing agricultural biodiversity to address the cultural, social, and environmental dimensions of food production. But the scope of possibilities for biodiversity within agriculture is much greater than diversity of crops. Integral to a landscape approach is a diversity of land uses – from forests and riparian zones to pastureland and diversified cropping systems – which support and benefit from biodiversity of plants and animals. Diversity of crops, wildlife, and ecosystems increases resilience to shocks, such as extreme weather events, or to the creeping shifts from climate change.
The Landscapes Blog will take this period in preparation for the CBD to explore the range of issues associated with biodiversity and agriculture.