Monday, September 17, 2012

Protecting biodiversity key to food security, adaptation

Johann Earle in Alertnet: Biodiversity conservation will be key to ensuring food security and effective adaptation in the face of climate change, says Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, secretary general of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

“Much of the response to climate change will have to be based on biodiversity,” said de Souza Dias, head of the CBD, launched in 1992 as part of an international effort to promote sustainable development while protecting ecosystems. “Part of the response will come from new technology, but a large part will come from biodiversity, for example, agriculture,” he said.

For instance, “agriculture will be very strongly impacted by climate change all over the world. How do we adapt agriculture to future climate conditions? With genetic resources, to adapt the crops… so if we lose biodiversity we will have fewer options to adapt,” he told journalists at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) World Conservation Congress last week.

He also pointed out as climate change increases the number of extreme weather events, such as droughts and floods, conserving natural areas could help produce a “buffer effect” to absorb and lessen the impacts of extreme weather on agriculture. And preserving crop biodiversity means “you will also have a better chance of resisting attacks of pests and diseases,” he said.

Biodiversity losses, however, are continuing worldwide, despite efforts to reverse them, de Souza Dias said....

Buckwheat, shot by Andrew Butko, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license