Agricultural
biodiversity is defined as the variety and variability of plants, animals, microorganisms
that are used in food and agriculture. It is the result of the interaction
between humans and natural ecosystems. To specify it, agricultural biodiversity
can be expanded and classified into ecological diversity, organismal diversity
and genetic diversity. It is an extension of biodiversity in order to include
units and habitats that are not usually accepted by some biologists. Agricultural
biodiversity includes, physical, social, cultural, ethical and spiritual
elements that results the crops and food produced vary in different places. Elements
that bring beneficial and harm to crops, food, and ecosystem are also included
in agricultural biodiversity.  For example,
species and habitats outside of farming systems that can enhance ecosystem
functions, elements that able to supply goods and services to humans are some
of the elements that benefit agriculture. Pollination and control of greenhouse
gas emissions and soil dynamics are some other elements that contribute to ecosystem
services. Moreover, pests, weed and diseases are harmful elements that affect
crops and food adversely.

The
number of plant species and animal species that were successfully domesticated
becomes smaller. Agriculture has been simplifying across the centuries due to
agricultural revolution which few plant species had been successfully
domesticated. The nutritional value, ease of cultivation, reliability and
ability to adopt to change of the plants are the considerations for the farmers
to select and plant. Besides, the breeding of wild species, adaptation to
external conditions and the other cultural and economic factors has caused the
farmers to develop and unexpected local varieties and landraces. Due to
different external conditions, landraces and primitive cultivars have their own
adaptation, own characteristics and nutrition levels. Domestics livestock can
help to prevent the extinction of animal species and diversity results of
hunting, changes to their habitats etc.

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However,
agriculture has caused a major reduction in dietary diversity due to the
intensification of agriculture which only few types of crop species used for
planting. Intensive agriculture aroused much controversy among the researchers.
Some researchers claimed that by intensive agriculture like high carbohydrate
crops, hunters-gatherers can concentrate on providing protein and other
nutrients, and so balance nutrient can be taken. However, some other
researchers claimed that intensive agriculture has caused adverse effect on
health as only few nutrition dominate the dietary intake, which can cause nutrient
deficiencies and diseases. But overall, agricultural intensification brings more
benefits than harms by reducing mortality and increasing in health level.

Simplification
of agriculture not only due to modern intensive agriculture, others form of
agriculture like traditional agriculture, small-scale cultivation of staples,
home gardening are also the reasons. Modern intensive agriculture reduces
agricultural biodiversity as it relies on only certain crops to supply food to
human, for example, wheat, barley, maize etc. which called as staples. It also
causes genetic erosion of local crop species which reduces the diversity in
crops and wild relatives as the high-yielding cultivars replaced the local
landraces and cultivars. Some reports revealed that the genetic diversity
continues to be maintained on some farms which they persisted to use informal
seed despite of the commercial seed. However, the modern agriculture, hybridizing
improved varieties with landraces, has caused the true landraces became rare. Next,
Small-scale agricultures contribute some of the food supply in the world.
Small-scale agricultures are rich in agricultural biodiversity as they use polycropping
and intercropping to maintain the variation within the crops. Small-scale
agricultures can also help in conserving the local knowledge, besides providing
micronutrient and vitamins to human as the farmers use local underutilized
species that are very valuable but less investigated by researchers.
Furthermore, Home gardens also play important role in improving household food
security and reduce micronutrient deficiencies. It applies on the area of land
around the family home. It is normally practiced in tropical and subtropical
regions. It is normally a subsistence agriculture. Home gardens also rich in
agricultural biodiversity as they contain up to 100 or more species in a garden.
Home gardens can also provide animal products. Thus, home gardens able to
improve the nutrition, incomes and diet of rural poor. However, there are
little evidence on their nutritional status.

Humans depend only 7,000 out of 400,000 species of
plant as their staples to maintain adequate human nutrition. There are mostly
grown locally and on a small scale. Many rural communities rely growing own
crops, for instance, staples and wild-harvested species to provide balance
nutrition in their diet. It cannot be denied that local cultivar and wild
species provide adequate micronutrient to human especially in rural area.
However, it is always neglected by researchers results in lack of information
about the wild species and lesser-known cultivars. Underutilized or orphan
crops, the lesser-known species, is defined as those species that can increase
people’s income, nutrients, livelihood, however, due to lack of competitiveness
with other domesticated crops, they are not fully utilized. These crops,
however, still play very important role to local communities as the crops have
high adaptation to the change of the external environment, which results in the
importance of underutilized species is now receiving more recognition. Wild-gathered
plant species is one of the major sources in human diet especially in developed
and developing countries. This practice is still popular in Mediterranean
region, tropical region. It not only provides variety of vitamins,
micronutrients in the form of food, but also a source of fibres, fuel, ornament
and medicines that can alleviate the poverty by increasing people’s income. It
is always a supplement to the local agriculture especially in rural area. As
the role of wild-species that contribute to human is now being recognized, more
and more domestication programmes are being developed which the wild species
are brought into cultivation. Today, crop wild relatives (CWR) may now play
major role in human nutrition. However, it is being recognized gradually that
CWR will be a role in future food security when facing the global change as CWR
contain essential source of genetic material and has higher genetic variation.

Animal
diversity such as dairy products, eggs, meat, fish etc. that provides high
quality of protein, fat, vitamins and minerals to human. As the demand of the
meat consumption has increased over the years, the animal husbandry has been
increasing. However, the industrial livestock production practices may not be
practical as it uses plenty of land just to provide sufficient demand of meat
in market. Protein from animal can be also obtained from wild meat, meat which
is hunted or harvested.  It is still
popular in the tropics of the Americas, Asia and Africa. However, excessive
hunting of wild animal has caused the threatening of livelihoods of some forest
communities.  Fish and crustaceans are
also one of the sources of protein. Fish and crustaceans are very important to
coastal, lacustrine and riverine communities, as they can provide sufficient
protein to human, improve livelihoods and income to rural communities. Now,
most of the fish eaten come from farmed sources.

Agricultural
intensification is threatening the biodiversity around the world. It is
threatening the rare wildlife in the forest of each country. Hence, there are
some concerns about the agricultural intensification which are the adverse impacts
on biodiversity, wild diversity, overuse of energy and water, and the changes
in dietary patterns. Some researchers proposed some ideas to resolve these
problems. The main concept of the new paradigms is to maximize productivity without
simplification, for example, producing more crops in the same area of land while
reducing the negative impact on the environment. It is important to maintain healthy
ecosystems in order to provide goods and services to human and to solve the main
problem of indigenous communities which is hunger and malnutrition. However, governments
and policymakers underestimate the role of biodiversity in alleviating hunger
and malnutrition in poor communities. They underestimate the underutilized or
wild-gathered species is due to lack of information and knowledge about their
value and their characteristics. In facts, ample evidence showed that local
biodiversity and ecosystem services can help in providing diet diversity,
alleviating the poverty in rural communities. Hence, more scientific assessments,
researches are needed to publicize the knowledge of local food biodiversity and
diets.

The
global change is the main concern of agricultural biodiversity. The global
change for instance demographic, land use will be more complex and unpredictable
on agricultural biodiversity in future. Undeniably, agricultural biodiversity
resolved the problem of food supply in the growing of human population.
However, it leads to overexploitation of resources and causes many climatic
changes for instance global warming. In the long run, it will affect the crop
yields negatively, inflation will occur, and imbalance diets will be consumed
at the end. Hence, the interaction between human and agricultural biodiversity
is vital in response to the challenges of global change – food and nutrition insecurity
and climate change.

In
conclusion, agricultural biodiversity contributes human food, nutrition and
health especially in traditional food systems besides agricultural intensification.
Traditional food systems provide nutrition, micronutrient, diet variety and able
to sustain the livelihoods not only in local communities but also people around
the world. Hence, local biodiversity is one of the significant contributions to
a sustainable agriculture-food-nutrition. Not only the traditional food
systems, home gardens also able to provide sufficient nutrients, micronutrients
to human diets. However, the lack of knowledge about these agricultural methods
involved resulted in less attention to the investigation of their nutrient
contributions and micronutrients of local food. Assessments, integrated
approaches, and attention are needed to investigate local food resources with
nutritional, agronomic, and economic advantages. In short, agricultural
biodiversity plays important role in providing sustainable of nutrition to
human in response to the challenges of global change.

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