Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Biodiversity and ecosystems

With large scale habitat loss, overharvesting, climate change and invasive species affecting most regions in the world, many thousands of animal and plant species are at risk of extinction due to human actions. The food system is the primary driver of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation. At the same time, food production is closely interlinked with and dependent on the continued existence of specific natural areas, because it relies on ecosystem services such as pollination, fish stock renewal and rain water cycling and countless others.

29 January 2015

This updated version further develops the Planetary Boundaries concept, which was first published in 2009.  In their original outline of the concept the authors identified nine key global processes and systems that regulate the stability and resilience of the Earth System – the interactions of land, ocean, atmosphere and life that together provide conditions upon which our societies depend.  They argued that if these natural processes are disrupted beyond a certain ‘boundary’ point, the consequences could be irreversible and lead to abrupt environmental change, making life on earth very hard for humans.

3 December 2014

An online overview of agroecology research is currently being conducted in the UK by the Ecological Land Cooperative. A mixed professional and volunteer research team was commissioned to: 1) review research on ecological agriculture in the United Kingdom; and 2) provide a database of existing research. The overview is freely accessible and it was developed to inform both on-going research work and those working in the field of agroecology.

23 October 2014

A study on the impact of climate change on fish stocks by scientists from the UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) has identified ocean hotspots for fish extinction and a link between rising temperatures and fish movement.

30 July 2014

Ten years after the first Year Book in this series appeared, a special e-book anniversary edition – UNEP Year Book 2014 – presents a fresh look at ten issues highlighted over the past decade.

4 June 2014

This new paper in Global Environmental Change, builds on a 1997 study published in Nature on the global value of ecosystem services, and estimates the changes since then.

9 April 2014

The Countryside and Community Research Institute (CCRI) at the University of Gloucestershire has received EU funding for a 5-year project which will be looking at measures to prevent and remediate soil degradation in Europe.

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20 March 2014

This comparative five year study on grasslands suggests that allowing grazing animals to crop the excess growth of of grasses that, due to fertization, grow too vigorously, can counteract the threats these grasses present to the other plants that contribute to the biodiversity of native prairies.

5 March 2014

The Food Climate Research Network has published a major new report focusing on China’s changing food system.

Appetite for Change provides a detailed and integrative analysis of the dramatic changes in China’s food system over the last 35 years, and explores the linkages among the environmental, health, economic and cultural trends that are emerging.  

14 February 2014

An analysis of 94 studies looking at land-use intensity and organic farming methods concludes that organic farming boosts biodiversity. The authors point out that even though research is currently biased towards developed countries (mostly UK and European climates) in temperate regions, organic farming is shown to increase the number of on farm species by around 34 percent.

22 January 2014

This publication forms part of a larger series published by Earthscan/Routledge in association with Biodiversity Iinternational, entitled Issues in Agricultural Biodiversity. The volume explores the current state of knowledge on the role of agricultural biodiversity in improving diets, nutrition and food security. Using examples and case studies from around the globe, the book explores current strategies for improving nutrition and diets and identifies key research and implementation gaps that need to be addressed to successfully promote the better use of agricultural biodiversity for rural and urban populations and societies in transition.

22 January 2014

WWF International has published a report on soy which looks at how soy is produced and used, which countries are at risk from the expansion of soy and at how the production of pork, poultry and dairy drive soy production. Most importantly the report discusses how the carbon footprint of soy can be reduced and how a more responsible soy industry can be created, by suggesting ways in which rising demand for soy can be met without contributing to deforestation and habitat loss.

19 December 2013

This paper, which looks at the impact of agricultural intensification on soils across Europe, suggests that differences in the intensity of land use significantly affects soil ecosystems and the services they provide. High intensity arable land use is found to a have lower diversity and biomass of soil organisms than lower intensity arable or permanent grassland, and that this affects the carbon and nitrogen cycles in the environment.

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