Major Processes Shaping the Evolution of Agriculture, Biotechnology, and Biodiversity

Part of the Natural Resource Management and Policy book series (NRMP, volume 27)


The paper identifies five major global trends that are likely to impact agricultural biodiversity conservation and the adoption of agricultural biotechnologies. The trends covered include trade and capital market liberalization, the rise of the environmental movement, consumerism, privatization and devolution of government services, and the emergence of the information age. We find that trade liberalization is likely to lead to increased incentives and capacity for biotechnology adoption, with unclear but potentially negative impacts on agricultural biodiversity. Environmentalism has generated a system of environmental governance and regulation, which may come into conflict with those established under global trade agreements. However, the way in which these disputes will be resolved is still unclear, but it will likely have important implications for both agricultural biotechnology and biodiversity. The rise in consumer power associated with increased incomes and the expansion of markets will affect biotechnology adoption through two opposing effects: the expression of consumer concerns about environmental and food safety, balanced against the delivery of quality characteristics that biotechnology can deliver. Privatization in the agricultural research and development sector increases incentives for the development of agricultural biotechnologies, but may create barriers to their adoption in developing countries, while the privatization of environmental services generates increased incentives for biodiversity conservation. Rapid improvements in information technologies increase the capacity for effective biodiversity conservation and are fundamental components of the development of biotechnologies.

Key words

agricultural biodiversity agricultural biotechnology environmental treaties globalization information technologies privatization 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Agricultural and Resource EconomicsUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA
  2. 2.Agricultural and Development Economic Analysis DivisionFood and Agriculture Organization of the U.N.RomeItaly

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