Agriculture and Human Values

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 3–26 | Cite as

Food security and biodiversity: can we have both? An agroecological analysis

Article

Abstract

We present an extensive literature review exploring the relationships between food insecurity and rapid biodiversity loss, and the competing methods proposed to address each of these serious problems. Given a large and growing human population, the persistence of widespread malnutrition, and the direct and significant threats the expanding agricultural system poses to biodiversity, the goals of providing universal food security and protecting biodiversity seem incompatible. Examining the literature shows that the current agricultural system already provides sufficient food on a worldwide basis, but in doing so methodically undermines the capacity of agroecosystems to preserve biodiversity. However, the available evidence emphasizes the interdependence of biodiversity and agriculture, and the important role each plays in the maintenance of the other. Thus, our review supports the claim that the solutions to the problems of widespread food insecurity and biodiversity loss need not be mutually exclusive, and that it may be possible to address both using appropriate alternative agricultural practices.

Keywords

Agroecology Alternative agriculture Biodiversity Conservation Food security Organic agriculture Political ecology 

Abbreviations

ADA

American Dietetic Association

CNPP

Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion

FAO

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

GM

Genetically modified

IAASTD

International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science, and Technology for Development

IPM

Integrated pest management

IPNS

Integrated plant nutrient systems

NRC

National Research Council

SMAB

Secretaria Municipal de Abastecimento

UNCCD

United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification

UNDP

United Nations Development Programme

UNMP

United Nations Millennium Project

WHO

World Health Organization

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  2. 2.University of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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