Experts discuss the challenges faced in agrobiodiversity and conservation, integrating disciplines that range from plant and biological sciences to economics and political science.
Wide-ranging environmental phenomena – including climate change, extreme weather events, and soil and water availability – combine with such socioeconomic factors as food policies, dietary preferences, and market forces to affect agriculture and food production systems on local, national, and global scales. The increasing simplification of food systems, the continuing decline of plant species, and the ongoing spread of pests and disease threaten biodiversity in agriculture as well as the sustainability of food resources. Complicating the situation further, the multiple systems involved – cultural, economic, environmental, institutional, and technological – are driven by human decision making, which is inevitably informed by diverse knowledge systems. The interactions and linkages that emerge necessitate an integrated assessment if we are to make progress toward sustainable agriculture and food systems.
This volume in the Strüngmann Forum Reports series offers insights into the challenges faced in agrobiodiversity and sustainability and proposes an integrative framework to guide future research, scholarship, policy, and practice. The contributors offer perspectives from a range of disciplines, including plant and biological sciences, food systems and nutrition, ecology, economics, plant and animal breeding, anthropology, political science, geography, law, and sociology. Topics covered include evolutionary ecology, food and human health, the governance of agrobiodiversity, and the interactions between agrobiodiversity and climate and demographic change.
Karl S. Zimmerer is Professor of Environment and Society in the Departments of Geography and Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education at Pennsylvania State University, where he is also Director of the GeoSyntheSES Lab.
Stef de Haan is an Agrobiodiversity and Food Systems researcher at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).
"With this landmark book, Zimmerer and de Haan offer us an altogether distinctive and rewarding perspective on the many roles agrobiodiversity plays in our cultures, in the past, in the present, and, most importantly, in the future. Their deep knowledge of the literature and their extensive fieldwork provide a synthesis that will inspire cutting-edge theoretical and applied work for decades to come."
– Gary Paul Nabhan, MacArthur Fellow; author of Food from the Radical Center and Where Our Food Comes From
"Changing global climate and expanding human population have necessarily focused attention on agrobiodiversity conservation and use. The text offers a thorough and timely review of what constitutes agrobiodiversity, its relationship to the natural and anthropogenic environment, and just how agrobiodiversity can be used to sustain humankind in the twenty-first century."
– Nigel Maxted, University of Birmingham, lead author of Plant Genetic Conservation
"Agrobiodiversity handsomely informs the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, as well as similar efforts, by providing a comprehensive social-environmental assessment of the need for the diversity of cultivated plants and the mitigation of their losses globally."
– B. L. Turner II, Regents' Professor and Gilbert F. White Professor of Environment and Society, Arizona State University