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  • Five remedies for biodiversity

    February 29, 2012
    by andrea maresi

    Tomato fields (Copyright barbaragarlaschelli.wordpress.com)

    According to the report Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, a quarter of the world’s known plant species—some 60,000 to 100,000 species—are threatened with extinction. And even though plants may not receive as much attention as endangered animals, they are essential.

    Among their many attributes, plants are a vital source of food, they can help stabilize the climate, and they also provide shelter, medicines, and fuel. The report aggregates contributions by over 1000 world leading biological scientists that analyse the state of the Earth’s ecosystems and provides summaries and guidelines for decision-makers

    Today, the agronomic project Nourishing the Planet introduces five agricultural innovations to improve biodiversity and protect these important providers.

    Seed banks:  Seed banks help preserve seed varieties, while protecting against famine and disease. Storing seed varieties in seed banks helps protect farmers from seed loss while reducing their overreliance on monoculture crops that makes agricultural economies vulnerable to price shocks.

    Permaculture: permaculture refers to designing land to take advantage of natural ecological processes by integrating a variety of crops, animals, and pests into one farming system.

    Cultivating indigenous crops:  As a result of the Green Revolution many countries started relying on growing western crops, such as maize, instead of local crops. To help increase biodiversity, farmers are going back to their roots and growing more indigenous vegetables, fruits, and grains.

    Protecting indigenous livestock breeds: The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warns that around 1,710 breeds of livestock—21 percent—are at risk of extinction worldwide.

    Crop Breeding : breeding crops that are resistant to pests and diseases and better adapted to drought or flooding can help make sure that many crops don’t  disappear.

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