Climate Change and Agrobiodiversity: Strengthening Adaptability and Resilience
Agrobiodiversity is already proving to be important in helping rural communities and farmers throughout the world adapt to climate change. Diversity (genetic, species and ecosystem) in production systems can improve adaptability and resilience and is an essential part of adaptation to changing production conditions. Over the past 18 months the Platform for Agrobiodiversity Research (PAR) has compiled information on the experiences of indigenous peoples and rural communities who are using agrobiodiversity to help adjust to changing conditions and provide improved livelihood strategies. Some challenges that have emerged include: - The need to ensure that there is sufficient diversity within production systems to maintain adaptability; - The importance of maintaining traditional adapted materials (crop and livestock varieties) within production systems and of allowing them to evolve and adapt to changing conditions; - The need for new materials in many situations and hence improved methods of dissemination and exchange of resources and information; - The recognition that farmers, pastoralists, forest dwellers, and fisher folk are having to adopt alternative livelihood strategies and need to exchange skills, knowledge, practices and experiences; - The importance of combining traditional knowledge and experiences with new scientific developments - The need for indicators that support farmers and researchers monitoring and decision making processes Ensuring that rural communities and farmers around the world can meet these challenges requires new knowledge and new partnerships that embed agrobiodiversity maintenance and use in climate change response strategies.