Biodiversity conservation and agricultural sustainability: Towards a new paradigm of 'ecoagriculture' landscapes

  • Scherr S
  • McNeely J
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Abstract

The dominant late twentieth century model of land use segregated agricultural production from areas managed for biodiversity conservation. This module is no longer adequate in much of the world. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment confirmed that agriculture has dramatically increased its ecological footprint. Rural communities depend on key components of biodiversity and ecosystem services that are found in non-domestic habitats. Fortunately, agricultural landscapes can be designed and managed to host wild biodiversity of many types, with neutral or even positive effects on agricultural production and livelihoods. Innovative practitioners, scientists and indigenous land managers are adapting, designing and managing diverse types of ‘ecoagriculture’ landscapes to generate positive co-benefits for production, biodiversity and local people. We assess the potentials and limitations for successful conservation of biodiversity in productive agricultural landscapes, the feasibility of making such approaches financially viable, and the organizational, governance and policy frameworks needed to enable ecoagriculture planning and implementation at a globally significant scale. We conclude that effectively conserving wild biodiversity in agricultural landscapes will require increased research, policy coordination and strategic support to agricultural communities and conservationists.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Agricultural production
  • Biodiversity conservation
  • Ecoagriculture
  • Landscape
  • Rural livelihoods

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Authors

  • Sara J. Scherr

  • Jeffrey A. McNeely

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