“Carrying out superficial repairs to our existing food systems will no longer suffice. We need disruptive change within and across today’s varied and complex food systems. To be sustainable, food system policy choices must focus on environmental as well as nutritional and health consequences.” This was the stark warning from experts at the 44th Session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS44) in October 2017.
That this disruptive change needs to include agricultural biodiversity was the central message in Bioversity International’s flagship book published this year. Mainstreaming Agrobiodiversity in Sustainable Food Systems: Scientific Foundations for an Agrobiodiversity Index presents the most recent scientific evidence on how to use agricultural biodiversity in diets and in production systems to help achieve sustainable food systems.
In Bioversity International's 2017 Annual Report, we celebrate our science, our partners, and how #agrobiodiversity nourishes people and sustains the planet @JMartonLefevre @AnnTutwiler @BioversityInt
Agricultural biodiversity is the variety and variability of animals, plants and micro-organisms that are used directly or indirectly for food and agriculture.
Bioversity International's vision is that agricultural biodiversity nourishes people and sustains the planet. Our mission is to deliver scientific evidence, management practices and policy options to use and safeguard agricultural and tree biodiversity to attain sustainable global food and nutrition security. Below are some research highlights from 2017 linked to our four strategic objectives which are to diversify diets, production systems, seeds and planting material, and to safeguard agricultural biodiversity.
In the research highlights section of the Annual Report, you will find ten stories based on scientific papers produced by Bioversity International scientists working with partners.
These highlights represent just a small selection of the 169 papers produced in 2017.
Bioversity International works with partners around the world including a wide range of funders and research partners who share our vision and mission to deliver scientific evidence, management practices and policy options to use and safeguard agricultural and tree biodiversity to attain sustainable global food and nutrition security.
Bioversity International is proud to be a CGIAR Research Centre. We participate in six CGIAR Research Programs and two Platforms supported by CGIAR Trust Fund members in close collaboration with the other 14 CGIAR Centres and hundreds of partner organizations, including national and regional research institutes, civil society organizations, academia and the private sector.
We thank all of our partners for their critical and continued support.
Mobilizing funds for international agricultural research remains challenging. Nonetheless, Bioversity International’s overall revenue from bilateral grants has grown by 21% since 2012 – the highest level of bilateral funding ever! We thank all of our funders for their critical and continued support.
In 2017, our relationships with the governments of Belgium, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Peru and Switzerland were further strengthened. Our partnerships with multilateral organizations keen to mainstream agrobiodiversity in sustainable food systems such as the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), European Commission (EC), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and UN Environment and the Global Environment Facility have also been strengthened, as has our support from foundations. These commitments are complemented by many other supporters of our work who are listed in this report.
We would also like to highlight important additional in-kind contributions of facilities and experts from Belgium’s Katholieke Universiteit of Leuven and the governments of China, Germany, India, and Italy among others. We estimate the value of in-kind contributions amounted to at least $5 million in 2017.
For more information, download our 2017 Financial Statements
Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias
M. Ann Tutwiler
Douglas van den Aardweg
Bioversity International created a UK registered charity (no. 1131854) in October 2008 to increase awareness and support for its research agenda and activities. Bioversity International UK is governed by an independent Board of Trustees.
M. Ann Tutwiler
Bioversity International USA, Inc aims to engage and inspire a wide range of partners and donors to ensure that agricultural biodiversity nourishes people and sustains the planet. It is led by a committed and highly regarded Board of Trustees:
M. Ann Tutwiler
Writing: Arwen Bailey, Jeremy Cherfas, Samantha Collins, Mirna Franic, Marta Millere, with contributions from many of our scientists
Contributors: Nora Capozio, Oonagh Darby, Maria Garruccio, Karen Harmann, Annie Huie, Allison Poulos
Design: Pablo Gallo
Web Editor: Carol Blay
Project Manager: Samantha Collins
The continued survival of many tree species, a vital source of income and nutrition in rural households, is under threat. Overharvesting, development, mining and climate change are just some of the pressures they face. A question asked by many conservation practitioners is how to effectively target the species that are both the most vulnerable and the most valuable to local communities? A study in Burkina Faso of 16 important food tree species and the threats they face provides some answers.
In Burkina Faso, the population has chronically high rates of food insecurity and is one of the poorest in the world. Around 130,000 people are estimated to be in a state of severe food insecurity – this number is expected to increase to over 600,000 during the 2018 lean season when food is scarce.
Forest foods such as wild fruits, nuts, vegetables, mushrooms and animal products provide a lifeline to rural populations especially between harvests or during extreme weather events like extended droughts when food can be scarce. Yet many tree species are under threat.
This study focused on the threats to 16 important food tree species*. The species were selected because of their importance for vegetable, fruit and carbohydrate-starch use, and also because there was data relating to their population numbers and distribution.
The spatially explicit multi-threat model, developed by Bioversity International with national and international partners, combines freely accessible datasets, species distribution models, climate models and expert survey results. The model can predict, at a fine-scale, where multiple threats are likely to have a negative impact on the availability of suitable habitat in the present and near future, for example, through climate-modelling. The model then allows the threats to be ranked in the different geographical locations, offering new insights at an individual and geolocation level for each species.
Researchers mapped the selected food tree species against the specific locations where they grow and the different threats they face, both now and in the future, as illustrated in the map below:
Six main threats were identified: overexploitation, overgrazing, fire, cotton production, mining and climate change. Climate change is predicted to be the main threat as you can see in the table below adversely affecting natural tree regeneration and habitat suitability for certain species of trees.
Worryingly, the study identified that all 16 species are facing serious threats in most of their locations across Burkina Faso. Overexploitation and cotton production were identified as the most important in the short term while in the long term, climate change was predicted as the most prevalent threat. More than half of the distribution of ten of the species were classified as under high or very high threat meaning urgent priority conservation actions are needed to safeguard them for future food security.
The African locust bean (Parkia biglobosa), also called néré, is a perennial deciduous tree of the legume family. It is primarily grown for its pods that contain both a sweet pulp and valuable seeds, which women process into a highly nutritious spice called soumbala. Soumbala is added to around 80% of meals across West Africa such as soup and stews. It is rich in protein and contains essential amino and fatty acids, vitamin B and minerals. Its bark, roots, leaves, flowers, fruits and seeds are also commonly used in traditional medicine.
The tree is identified in the study as facing severe threat from climate change in species populations located in the northern part of the species range in Burkina Faso. Recommendations from this study include urgent collections of seeds for planting in more suitable climates and for conserving in ex situ collections, such as the collection held at the National Tree Seed Center.
This approach can be easily used with other species and in other countries, and applied at different scales, from local to continental level, if appropriate spatial data and knowledgeable experts are available.
Information generated from this research will assist the National Tree Seed Center in Burkina Faso in setting priorities for collecting seeds from threatened populations, and to inform their future ex situ conservation strategies.
In addition, the researchers’ use of maps to visualize threats and their predicted impact is a very powerful tool to make results easily accessible and understandable to decision-makers who are tasked with conserving vulnerable species.
Understanding the combined effects of different threats on the distribution of important indigenous food tree species is essential for priority setting in conservation planning such as ex situ conservation, active regeneration and tree planting.
*The 16 important food tree species in the study were: Acacia macrostachya, Acacia senegal, Adansonia digitata, Annona senegalensis, Balanites aegyptiaca, Bombax costatum, Boscia senegalensis, Detarium microcarpum, Lannea microcarpa, Parkia biglobosa, Sclerocarya birrea, Strychnos spinosa, Tamarindus indica, Vitellaria paradoxa, Ximenia americana, Ziziphus mauritiana
This paper was led and co-authored by Bioversity International scientists Hannes Gaisberger, Judy Loo and Barbara Vinceti, with partners from: the World Agroforestry Centre; the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Change Research Centre and the University of Rostock in Germany; the University of Quebec in Canada; Aarhus University in Denmark; the University of N’Djaména in Chad; the Environmental and Agricultural Research Institute, the National Centre of Scientific Research and Technologies, the National Tree Seed Centre, the University of Ouagadougou and the University Aube Nouvelle in Burkina Faso.
Citation: Gaisberger, H.; Kindt, R.; Loo, J.; Schmidt, M.; Bognounou, F.; Da, S.S.; Diallo, O.B.; Ganaba, S.; Gnoumou, A.; Lompo, D.; Lykke, A.M.; Mbayngone, E.; Nacoulma, B.M.I.; Ouedraogo, M.; Ouedraogo, O.; Parkouda, C.; Porembski, S.; Savadogo, P.; Thiombiano, A.; Zerbo, G.; Vinceti, B. (2017) Spatially explicit multi-threat assessment of food tree species in Burkina Faso: A fine-scale approach. PLoS One 12(9): e0184457. ISSN: 1932-6203; http://hdl.handle.net/10568/87974
A question asked by many #conservation practitioners is how can I target species that areboth the most vulnerable & valuable to local communities? A study in #BurkinaFaso of 16 food #tree species provides some answers
Mapping threats to 16 important #food #tree species in #BurkinaFaso @BioversityInt @FTA_CGIAR
This study was carried out within the framework of ‘Threats to priority food tree species in Burkina Faso: Drivers of resource losses and mitigation measures’, financed by the Austrian Development Agency. It is part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), which is supported by CGIAR Trust Fund Donors