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Presented by Frédéric Baudron at the 54th Annual Meeting of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC) in Mérida, Yucatán (Mexico) on July 11, 2017. This presentation was part of the Agrarian Change Project Symposium: The impacts of agrarian change on local communities: Sharing experience from the field.
SUMMARY: In the last decade, the land sparing and land sharing approaches have provided the main framework for policy makers to debate and act on the impact of agriculture on nature. This framework has been useful in bringing attention to this issue; but it has been driven mainly by conservation ecologists. As agricultural scientists with practical experience in developing, testing and promoting alternative forms of agriculture in some of the most biodiversity-rich areas of Latin America, Eastern and Southern Africa and South Asia, the authors of this paper argue that the framework suffers from a number of limitations when considering farming and rural livelihoods. Four of these limitations are explored in four separate sections: (1) the lack of pragmatism and flexibility when considering agriculture, (2) the lack of consideration for what happens after the farm gate and for farmers’ objectives, (3) the lack of consideration for synergies between agriculture and biodiversity, and (4) the overly mechanistic way the framework links agriculture to biodiversity. In each section, approaches to overcome these limitations are proposed, and illustrated with concrete examples from Latin America, Eastern and Southern Africa and South Asia.