Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Biodiversity and ecosystem services

Agricultural biodiversity (the biodiversity associated with agricultural ecosystems) is indispensable for plant stability, and therefore sustaining crop production, food security and livelihoods for everyone.

The productivity of agricultural ecosystems depends on numerous species, such as soil micro-organisms, pollinators, predators of agricultural pests and the genetic diversity of the crops and livestock. Agricultural ecosystems serve as important habitats for many wild plant and animal species.

Wild species found in agricultural lands and nearby forests, wetlands and other natural habitats play a critical role in food security for many low-income farmers and rural people, as animal feed, fuel, raw materials for processing, and to provide supplemental food during “lean” periods before the harvest or in crop failures.

Wild species are sometimes used to provide valuable genetic resources, for instance for certain plant breeding. When preserved, these can help meet future food and livestock production challenges, including adapting to climate change.

The first gene banks to preserve plant biodiversity were created by breeders in the 1930s. Today, more than 6 million samples of different crops are currently maintained in collections in some 1,500 gene banks around the world.11 For example, the Millennium Seed Bank in the UK contains over one billion seeds.
Ecosystem services provided by ecosystems other than agriculture, such as clean water, carbon regulation, nutrient cycling or soil maintenance, are equally important to sustaining agricultural ecosystems.

Read more: International Union for Conservation of Nature

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Permaculture & Agricultural Ecosystems

Permaculture, a branch of ecological style and ecological engineering, that develop sustainable human settlements and self-maintained agricultural systems modeled from natural ecosystems.

The core values of permaculture are:
  • Care of the Earth: Provision for all life systems to continue and multiply.
  • Care of People: Provision for folks to access those resources necessary for his or her existence.

Setting Limits to Population and Consumption: By governing our own wants, we are able to set resources aside to additional the higher than principles. Permaculture style emphasizes patterns of landscape, function, and species assemblies. It asks the question, “Where will this (element) go? How will it's placed for the utmost advantage of the system?" To answer this question, the central concept of permaculture is maximizing helpful connections between elements and synergy of the ultimate style. the main target of permaculture, therefore, isn't on every separate component, however rather on the relationships created among components by the approach they're placed together; the full changing into bigger than the total of its elements.

Permaculture style thus seeks to reduce waste, human labor, and energy input by building systems with maximal advantages between style components to realize a high level of synergy. Permaculture styles evolve over time by taking under consideration these relationships and components and might become extremely advanced systems that turn out a high density of food and materials with minimal input. Permaculture is thus a style of systems theory.

Permaculture attracts on the applying of ecological theory to research the characteristics of a farm, garden, or home site. every component of a style is carefully analyzed in terms of its wants, outputs, and properties. style components are then assembled in relation to 1 another so the product of one component feed the wants of adjacent components. Such relationships organizes are commonly organized in spatial patterns common in natural systems. Common permaculture practices embody the utilization of polyculture agriculture, perennial plants, rainwater harvesting, and terraforming.

Source: Permaculture Wiki