93 research outputs found

    Insights into the Importance of Ecosystem Services to Human Well-being in Reservoir Landscapes

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    Smallholder famers in West Africa use multiple ecosystem services (ES) in their day-to-day lives. The contribution that these services make to human well-being (HWB), and therefore to development outcomes, is not well understood. We analyse smallholder farmer perceptions of ES, ecosystem disservices (ED), and their HWB importance around community-managed reservoirs in four semi-arid landscapes in West Africa, using participatory mapping, focus groups and face-to-face surveys. Farmers identified what nature-based benefits (ES) and problems (ED) they perceived across each landscape and rated the importance of each service and disservice for their HWB. Our results indicate that ES make an important contribution to HWB in our study sites. More than 80% of farmers rated benefits from plant-based foods, domestic and agricultural water supplies, biofuel, medicinal plants, and fertile soil, and problems associated with human disease vectors, as of high or very high importance for HWB. Multiple ES were identified as contributing to each dimension of HWB, and ED as detracting from health and material well-being. Perceptions of the importance of several ES and ED varied significantly with socio-economic group, highlighting the need for careful consideration of trade-offs between HWB outcomes and stakeholders in ecosystem management decisions to support sustainable development

    Text mining national commitments towards agrobiodiversity conservation and use

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    Capturing countries' commitments for measuring and monitoring progress towards certain goals, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), remains underexplored. The Agrobiodiversity Index bridges this gap by using text mining techniques to quantify countries' commitments towards safeguarding and using agrobiodiversity for healthy diets, sustainable agriculture, and effective genetic resource management. The Index extracts potentially relevant sections of official documents, followed by manual sifting and scoring to identify agrobiodiversity-related commitments and assign scores. Our aim is to present the text mining methodology used in the Agrobiodiversity Index and the calculated commitments scores for nine countries while identifying methodological improvements to strengthen it. Our results reveal that levels of commitment towards using and protecting agrobiodiversity vary between countries, with most showing the strongest commitments to enhancing agrobiodiversity for genetic resource management followed by healthy diets. No commitments were found in any country related to some specific themes including varietal diversity, seed diversity, and functional diversity. The revised text mining methodology can be used for benchmarking, learning, and improving policies to enable conservation and sustainable use of agrobiodiversity. This low-cost, rapid, remotely applicable approach to capture and analyse policy commitments can be readily applied for tracking progress towards meeting other sustainability objectives.</p

    Complex agricultural landscapes host more biodiversity than simple ones: A global meta-analysis

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    Managing agricultural landscapes to support biodiversity conservation requires profound structural changes worldwide. Often, discussions are centered on management at the field level. However, a wide and growing body of evidence calls for zooming out and targeting agricultural policies, research, and interventions at the landscape level to halt and reverse the decline in biodiversity, increase biodiversity-mediated ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes, and improve the resilience and adaptability of these ecosystems. We conducted the most comprehensive assessment to date on landscape complexity effects on nondomesticated terrestrial biodiversity through a meta-analysis of 1,134 effect sizes from 157 peer-reviewed articles. Increasing landscape complexity through changes in composition, configuration, or heterogeneity significatively and positively affects biodiversity. More complex landscapes host more biodiversity (richness, abundance, and evenness) with potential benefits to sustainable agricultural production and conservation, and effects are likely underestimated. The few articles that assessed the combined contribution of linear (e.g., hedgerows) and areal (e.g., woodlots) elements resulted in a near-doubling of the effect sizes (i.e., biodiversity level) compared to the dominant number of studies measuring these elements separately. Similarly, positive effects on biodiversity are stronger in articles monitoring biodiversity for at least 2 y compared to the dominant 1-y monitoring efforts. Besides, positive and stronger effects exist when monitoring occurs in nonoverlapping landscapes, highlighting the need for long-term and robustly designed monitoring efforts. Living in harmony with nature will require shifting paradigms toward valuing and promoting multifunctional agriculture at the farm and landscape levels with a research agenda that untangles complex agricultural landscapes’ contributions to people and nature under current and future conditions

    A global database of diversified farming effects on biodiversity and yield

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    With the Convention on Biological Diversity conference (COP15), United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), and United Nations Food Systems Summit, 2021 is a pivotal year for transitioning towards sustainable food systems. Diversified farming systems are key to more sustainable food production. Here we present a global dataset documenting outcomes of diversified farming practices for biodiversity and yields compiled following best standards for systematic review of primary studies and specifically designed for use in meta-analysis. The dataset includes 4076 comparisons of biodiversity outcomes and 1214 of yield in diversified farming systems compared to one of two reference systems. It contains evidence from 48 countries of effects on species from 33 taxonomic orders (spanning insects, plants, birds, mammals, eukaryotes, annelids, fungi, and bacteria) of diversified farming systems producing annual or perennial crops across 12 commodity groups. The dataset presented provides a resource for researchers and practitioners to easily access information on where diversified farming systems effectively contribute to biodiversity and food production outcomes

    Strengthening the rationale on the nexus of biodiversity-climate change-food and nutrition security in the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) of Samoa and Tonga. Literature Review

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    This study has been commissioned by FAO to help strengthen the rationale on the nexus of biodiversity-climate change-food and nutrition security in the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) of Samoa and Tonga. The literature review examines food and nutrition security levels in Samoa and Tonga, in the light of biodiversity for food and agriculture (BFA), the current agricultural system, and climate-change mitigation strategies. The policy environment and landscape to mainstream BFA is also investigated. The study identifies existing gaps and opportunities and recommends the next steps to ensure the nexus of BFA, farming systems, food and nutrition security and climate-change adaptation is strengthened to dynamize livelihoods and ecosystem services

    Integrating local knowledge and remote sensing for eco-type classification map in the Barotse Floodplain, Zambia

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    This eco-type map presents land units with distinct vegetation and exposure to floods (or droughts) in three villages in the Barotseland, Zambia. The knowledge and eco-types descriptions were collected from participatory mapping and focus group discussions with 77 participants from Mapungu, Lealui, and Nalitoya. We used two Landsat 8 Enhanced Thematic Mapper (TM) images taken in March 24th and July 14th, 2014 (path 175, row 71) to calculate water level and vegetation type which are the two main criteria used by Lozi People for differentiating eco-types. We calculated water levels by using the Water Index (WI) and vegetation type by using the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). We also calculated the Normalized Burn Ratio (NBR) index. We excluded burned areas in 2014 and built areas to reduce classification error. Control points include field data from 99 farmers’ fields, 91 plots of 100 m2 and 65 waypoints randomly selected in a 6 km radius around each village. We also used Google Earth Pro to create control points in areas flooded year-round (e.g., deep waters and large canals), patches of forest and built areas. The eco-type map has a classification accuracy of 81% and a pixel resolution of 30 m. The eco-type map provides a useful resource for agriculture and conservation planning at the landscape level in the Barotse Floodplain

    A gendered ecosystem services approach to identify novel and locally-relevant strategies for jointly improving food security, nutrition, and conservation in the Barotse Floodplain

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    Multiple lines of evidence call for the use of locally-relevant strategies to guide and support sustainable agricultural intensification while improving development and conservation outcomes. The goal of this study was to identify the ecosystem services from natural and agricultural systems to achieve this aim in the Barotse Floodplain of Zambia. Our methodology utilized a gender-sensitive ecosystem services approach, whereby local knowledge from women and men was harnessed to understand which services and their sources are important. In addition, we identified the various constraints and options people encounter for developing sustainable and nutritious agriculture while achieving conservation outcomes. The results of our study indicate that the floodplain provides a broad range of ecosystem services, which are important for securing local livelihoods and wellbeing. The forests in the uplands and the grasslands in the plains are the primary sources of the 17 provisioning and regulating ecosystem services assessed. Nonetheless, both are often converted to agriculture due to their high soil fertility. We identified opportunities and challenges for sustainable agricultural intensification and development in areas with lower conservation concerns. We discussed the constraints and limitations for promoting sustainable and inclusive agriculture in those areas
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