Productive and resilient farms, forests and landscapes
A Bioversity International Initiative
In order to feed the projected population of 9 billion people by 2050, how can food production be sustainably expanded by 60% globally and up to 100% in developing countries?
This is the global challenge ahead of us.
Productive, profitable farms and associated ecosystems rely on a few key factors to address the challenges of rural poverty, natural resource degradation and global food security: environmental factors – light, water, soil and a vast array of biodiversity; genetic factors – seeds and planting materials suited to farmer conditions; and management – the choices farmers make about how they manage their fields and farms. Rural communities are further challenged, as their farms are burdened by biodiversity loss, salinity and degraded soils, weather variability and continuous pressure from pests and diseases.
This Bioversity International Initiative studies how both agricultural and wild biodiversity can improve soil characteristics, increase water quantity and quality, regulate pests and diseases, and enhance pollination to increase productivity and livelihood benefits, now and into the future.
The initiative works through two approaches:
This area of work focuses on how agricultural and tree biodiversity improves resilience at the field and landscape level.
Our research produces biodiversity-based technologies and decision-support tools that will be used to address farmers’ needs. How? Through appropriate seeds, planting materials and management approaches that boost farm productivity, reduce pests and diseases and improve livelihoods.
Working with communities, this research focuses on biophysical, social and institutional mechanisms that influence the flow and delivery of ecosystem services.
We investigate how practices, behaviour, institutions and different incentives can be used or improved to increase ecosystem services and better distribute their benefits to people, with an emphasis on promoting gender and social equity.
Pests and diseases are a natural part of any ecosystem. What farmers fear are the outbreaks that can cause high yield losses. What role could crop biodiversity play in pest and disease management? Since 2006, Bioversity International has been working with national partners in China, Ecuador, Morocco and Uganda to see how planting different varieties of the same crop in mixtures, can reduce pest and disease damage.
Bioversity International works with Mozambique’s Niassa Reserve managers and other partners to find ways to meet the livelihood needs of local people while supporting tree and ecosystem conservation through improved management and use of natural resources. Forestry researchers discovered that destructive honey collection methods were threatening trees and honey production in the reserve. Income made from selling honey was dwindling as people were cutting down trees that were up to 200 years old in order to collect honey from hives.