The International Day for Biological Diversity:Biodiversity and Agriculture 22 May 2008

What is at stake?

Today, as a result of the agricultural expansion, the growth of populations and misuse of agricultural technologies, new direct and indirect drivers of change have increased pressures on biodiversity and natural resources, including water, land and nutrients.

Over the past 50 years, agricultural expansion into tropical and sub-tropical regions has substantially reduced levels of biodiversity. At the same time, food production has increased by 160% from 1961 to 2003. Tradeoffs for an increase in food production has contributed to a decline in other ecosystem services, with 60% of them being degraded.

The resulting loss of biodiversity from these drivers of change and an associated decline in ecosystem services has significant consequences for the health and well being of all species on Earth. The challenge for farmers and humanity as a whole lies in ensuring food security, adequate nutrition, and stable livelihoods for the population of the world. Creating sustainably managed agricultural systems is essential.