Forests, biodiversity and food security


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CIFOR scientist Terry Sunderland gave this presentation on 8 September 2012 at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Jeju, South Korea, during a session co-hosted by CIFOR titled ‘Managing wild species and systems for food security’.

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Forests, biodiversity and food security

  1. 1. Forests, biodiversity & food security Terry C.H. Sunderland Managing wild species and systems for food security WCC, JejuTHINKING beyond the canopy 8th September 2011
  2. 2. What is food security?  Commonly accepted and used definition for food security: “Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for a healthy and active life” (World Food Summit, 1996) THINKING beyond the canopy
  3. 3. However….  This definition infers that access to enough food is an adequate criterion to achieve food security  Yet access to food must be sustainable in the long term  Human well-being is closely related to access to wider environmental health such as access to clean water, sanitation and biodiverse productive ecosystems  Food security does not always equate to nutritional security THINKING beyond the canopy
  4. 4. Forests, biodiversity and food security One billion people rely on forest products for nutrition and income Biodiversity provides important safety-net during times of food insecurity Wild harvested meat provides 30-50% of protein intake for many rural communities 75% of world’s population rely on biodiversity for primary health care $90 billion / annum in (primarily invisible) NTFP trade Products derived from genetic resources worth estimated $500 billion/year 45% of global food production comes from diverse small-holder agricultural systems Long tradition of managing forests for food Ecosystem services provided by forests THINKING beyond the canopy
  5. 5. Global trends in food production  Agriculture began around 12,000 years ago  Approx. 7,000 plant species and several thousand animal species historically used for human nutrition and health  Since 1900, global trend towards diet simplification  Today, 12 plant crops and 14 animal species provide 98% of world’s food needs  Wheat, rice and maize: more than 50% of energy intake THINKING beyond the canopy
  6. 6. Effects of diet simplification  More than 800 million people are under-nourished and 200 million children are under-weight  In 2009, more than 1 billion people were classified as “hungry”: the highest number in recorded history  Another 1 billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiencies, including Vitamin A, Iron, and Zinc  Greater incidence of Type II diabetes among urban dwellers  Vulnerability to catastrophic events: climate-related, pests and diseases, market forces THINKING beyond the canopy
  7. 7. Purported legacy of green revolution  Disaggregation of agriculture and natural resource management  Significant increases in food production have been achieved through high-input, intensive, and industrial agriculture that is heavily dependent on fossil fuels and agro-chemicals resulting in: • Pollution • Increased CO² emissions • Land conversion • Loss of biodiversity • Uneven distribution of food supplies and financial benefits • Loss of livelihoods for small holder farmers THINKING beyond the canopy
  8. 8. Challenges to achieving global food security  Population growth  Climate change  Food inequity  Gender inequity  Globalisation  Continued forest and biodiversity loss THINKING beyond the canopy
  9. 9. Challenges: population growth  Global population estimated to grow to nine billion+ by 2050  If current agricultural model is followed, this will require conversion of further one billion ha of land  Changing diets: transition to meat-based diet very inefficient use of resources  How to feed the world’s growing and more affluent population while conserving biodiversity? THINKING beyond the canopy
  10. 10. Challenges: climate change  The impacts of rising temperatures and more-extreme weather events will likely hurt the poor, especially rural farmers, the most  Agricultural yields in Africa could decline by more than 30 percent by 2050 (IPCC)  Biodiverse multi-functional landscapes more resilient to climate change effects and continue to provide ecosystem service  Recent climate-related events have led to increase in basic food prices and “food riots” THINKING beyond the canopy
  11. 11. THINKING beyond the canopy
  12. 12. Challenges: Food inequity Food inequity: While one billion people go hungry, one billion people are over-weight or obese (daily feast or famine) Food waste (post harvest and post purchase) Purchasing power: Singapore/Hong Kong are food secure, while India, a major agricultural producer, is not beyond the canopy THINKING
  13. 13. Challenges: agricultural investment  Since 2005, food prices have increased 50-80% in developing countries  Funding for agricultural development has dropped significantly over the last decade and are now at historic lows (only 4% of total overseas aid)  Developing country investment very low, despite contribution of agriculture to GDP THINKING beyond the canopy
  14. 14. Challenges: Gender inequity Women comprise up to 60% and 80% of small-holder farmers in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa respectively More likely to include diverse range of products Described as “guardians of food security” for the household Maternal health and nutrition is key for future productivity Many women lack access to land tenure, credit, extension services THINKING beyond the canopy
  15. 15. Innovations for integrated biodiversity and food security benefits?  Marginal lands (in the tropics 480 million ha of land available)  Diversification of production systems: tree crops, inter-crops and maintenance of ecosystem services (incl. carbon storage)  Tenure reform  Conservation agriculture  Fair and equitable access to markets especially for small- holder farmers  Land sparing or land sharing? THINKING beyond the canopy
  16. 16. New approaches for integrating agriculture and biodiversity? “Eco-agriculture” (Scherr and McNeely 2006) “Back to the land: New green revolution” (Time 2010) “Agroecology is complimentary to conventional agriculture and needs scaling up” (United Nations 2011) “New agriculture needed…” (UNDP 2011) “Agro-ecological approach” (World Bank 2011) “Integrated management of biodiversity for food and agriculture” (FAO 2011) THINKING beyond the canopy
  17. 17. Read more….  Special issue of International Forestry Review on “Forests, biodiversity and food security” published in November 2011 THINKING beyond the canopy
  18. 18. What’s missing? THINKING beyond the canopy
  19. 19. “Protecting
a single
agenda” (Godfray
Science) Visit us at THINKING beyond the canopy