Agricultural biodiversity and climate change

Smallholders around the world favour diversity as they face changing, unpredictable climates.

Bioversity International tells us how smallholders use biodiversity to adapt. ‘Given the prevalence and effectiveness of planting new crops and varieties as a coping mechanism, ensuring access to a diversity of climate-hardy seed will be important to build resilience.’ That might include conventionally bred crops and also genetically modified crops. ‘An added challenge is that agricultural biodiversity is threatened by increasing homogenisation and industrialisation of production systems worldwide, urbanisation of populations, and shifts in cultural eating habits. Building climate change resilience will therefore also require supporting the conservation of crop diversity through an integrated approach from farmers’ fields to the market and then to the table.’

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About argylesock

I wrote a PhD about veterinary parasitology so that's the starting point for this blog. But I'm now branching out into other areas of biology and into popular science writing. I'll write here about science that happens in landscapes, particularly farmland, and about science involving interspecific interactions. Datasets and statistics get my attention. Exactly where this blog will lead? That's a journey that I'm on and I hope you'll come with me.
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9 Responses to Agricultural biodiversity and climate change

  1. Tanya says:

    Why would they want to grow GMO crops? Wouldn’t that make matters worse?

    • argylesock says:

      Yes it might, but I’m not making an overall judgement. There might be situations in which a particular GMO meets a need on the land.

      In labs, as you know, there are many uses for GM. Major branches of medicine rely on it, eg recombinant bacteria to make insulin, recombinant mice to study cancer. I hope to get around to writing blog posts themed something like, ‘When GM comes good.’

      For agricultural GM, I’m thinking that the main problems are commercial and political – a few huge companies controlling many people’s food and livelihood, advertisers twisting people’s perceptions. If there were a benign way to use GM for agriculture, that would be well worth considering I think, but I haven’t yet seen a ‘benign way’ for it.

      It might be appropriate for short-term needs, eg saving the sight of some children through Golden Rice, but I’m concerned that powerful people would use that as an excuse to ignore poverty. I blogged about that https://argylesock.wordpress.com/2013/09/09/golden-rice-is-no-solution-to-malnutrition/

      What do you think? You’re younger than I am so, at risk of pomposity, I say that the world is yours to inherit.

  2. Reblogged this on GreenSky and commented:
    So now its time for our first re-blog in the new pattern of posts. This has to be from one of our blog’s best friend, Dr. Sam Mason. She writes brilliant posts about agriculture, GMO, climate, etc. In this post, she has shared an article on climatic adaptation among smallholder farmers and importance of biodiversity. The blog “Science on the Land” will definitely be the source of most of our reblogs.

    There’s another great talk about seed diversity given by Cary Fowler that shares depth and importance of seed diversity. http://www.ted.com/talks/cary_fowler_one_seed_at_a_time_protecting_the_future_of_food.html

    As much prepared we become with knowledge of new varieties, there is always a magical tool of experience that comes from traditional agriculture. At any point, neither can be given less importance. We’ll make our best efforts to maintain an integrated environment in agriculture with traditional practices being checked by scientific facts.

  3. Pingback: Scuba rice: biotech crop on a fast track towards release | Science on the Land

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