To know what agricultural biodiversity entails you must first understand what is meant by biodiversity. Biodiversity refers to the varieties and numbers of organisms in a certain geographical region. Such living organisms will work together in order to generate a productive ecosystem. If there was no biodiversity, medicines, food, industries, ecosystems, and habitats would collapse.
Things To Know About Agricultural Biodiversity:
- Biodiversity enables scientists to understand ways in which life functions and roles of all species in sustaining the ecosystems. Different species offer countless products through agriculture; you can get high production levels by maximizing benefits of agricultural ecosystems. Functions like organic matter decomposition, nutrient cycling, degraded soil rehabilitation, pollination, and disease control are sustained by different populations close to agricultural ecosystems.
- So, biodiversity is needed for agriculture and food security. It includes all animals and plants which are part of livestock, crops, wild species, and aquaculture and forest systems. This will also include associated biodiversity that refers to animals, plants, and microorganisms like bats, birds, insects, corals, fungi, worms, and bacteria in the soil. These are imperative for preserving soil fertility and helps in pollination of plants, air and water purification. So, soil contains about a quarter of the global biodiversity making it important for healthy environment and food security.
- If there is a loss of biodiversity there will threats to ecosystems, food security, and even species. According to reports by the FAO there is an imminent threat of soil biodiversity loss in many parts of the globe. This has happened largely because of the use of intensive agricultural methods in order to cater to a rapidly-growing population worldwide. Because of this high demand, about 75% of the total global land surface has undergone transformations. As a result, many of the important elements of biodiversity for agriculture and food at ecosystem, species, and genetic levels have come down. As much as 26% of livestock species are now almost reaching extinction.
- Both soil organisms and insects are declining in numbers and this is directly threatening soil health. Such insects are needed for optimal soil heath and to provide ecosystem services. But species like soil organisms and pollinators have been steadily falling. Reports show that nearly 17% of pollinator species (vertebrate) are reaching extinction because of pollution, habits degradation, and overexploitation.
- With intensive agricultural practices the water ecosystems have also been significantly affected; almost a third of fish stocks are actually overfished. About a third of freshwater fish are threatened as a result of overfishing. The Living Planet Index reports that nearly 84% of freshwater fish have been declining since the seventies.
- Likewise, in the absence of biodiversity, almost 20% of mangrove forests worldwide have been affected. The important ecosystems needed for agriculture and food security are also needed to protect against floods, storms, and adverse weather conditions. But a huge percentage of inland and coastal wetlands have been lost in the last century.
- In view of all these threats to species, things have to be done to contain the threats. While the concerns seem to be rather alarming, it is still not too late. People must act fast and efficiently to implement large-scale solutions. Governments need to come together with private organizations to tackle biodiversity loss and degradation of ecosystems.