Agriculture and biodiversity can work together for climate, nutrition and food security

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Colombo, August 20, 2021

Agriculture is often blamed for the degradation of our natural environment. But if more biodiversity is integrated into agricultural land we can supply the world’s growing population with a healthy diet while sequestering up to 30% of the total CO2 released into the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution, according to a new evidence review from the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems.

Agricultural activity takes up about 40% of the global land surface and is responsible for 80% of land conversion. The obliteration of biodiversity within and outside of agricultural systems not only deprives farmers and the wider environment of the ecosystem services we all rely on, it drives the food system towards the production and consumption of unhealthy, insufficiently diverse diets – contributing to an estimated 11 million premature deaths annually.

The usual solution proposed has been to spare land from agriculture by designating protected areas. The WLE review calls for a complementary approach by sharing agricultural land with…

Photo credit: G.M. Devagiri/World Agroforestry Centre

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