Biodiversity declines threaten world food production, warns United Nations

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Painted Lady butterfly

A drop in global biodiversity is putting our ability to produce food at risk, a new United Nations report warns.

According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, biodiversity in food and agriculture “is indispensable to food security and sustainable development.” However, in recent years biodiversity at the genetic, species and ecosystem levels have all been in decline, reducing our overall food and agriculture systems’ ability to respond to shocks and stresses such as climate change.

“Many key components of biodiversity for food and agriculture at genetic, species and ecosystem levels are in decline,” the report said. “The proportion of livestock breeds at risk of extinction is increasing. Overall, the diversity of crops present in farmers’ fields has declined and threats to crop diversity are increasing.”

Related article:  Farms are not like Eden: The case for aggressive human intervention in agriculture

At the species level, many of those serving vital functions such as pollination or pest management are in decline “as a consequence of the destruction and degradation of habitats, overexploitation, pollution and other threats.”The drop in biodiversity is being caused by a number of major global trends, the report said, including climate change, international markets and demography.

“These are giving rise to other challenges such as land-use change, pollution, overuse, overharvesting and the proliferation of invasive species,” it said. “Interactions between these trends can often exacerbate their effects.”

Read full, original article: ‘Extinction crisis’ threatening global food supply, UN report warns

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