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Trees on farms: a biodiversity assessment tool

January 7, 2019

Researchers have created a new tool to measure biological diversity in farm land, which will prove useful for the purposes of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

 

The United Nations Biodiversity Conference held 17–29 November 2018 in Egypt, which included the Fourteenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP14), called on decision makers from more than 190 countries to increase efforts to halt loss of biodiversity and protect ecosystems that support food and water security and health for billions of people.

One of the important policy discussions in view of developing the successor of the Global Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020 is innovative ways of mainstreaming biodiversity into core sectors of national economies, including agriculture. As forests are declining and so are the ecosystem services they provide, we need to restore at least some of these vital services on managed land.

Trees on farms play a critical role because they provide high levels of landscape biodiversity through in-situ conservation, connecting fragmented wild habitat, and conserving soil biodiversity and agrobiodiversity. Trees on farms have attractive co-benefits for climate-change mitigation and adaptation through carbon sequestration, income diversification and adaptive strategies in communities facing increased climate variability and climate-related crop failures. While trees on farms are an important instrument to restore and maintain biodiversity and other ecosystem services and directly support Aichi Target 7 (‘By 2020, areas under agriculture, aquaculture and forestry are managed sustainably, ensuring conservation of biodiversity’), they are not well featured in any national biodiversity strategic action plans. Trees on farms need to be included as one of the indicators for monitoring the status of sustainably managed agricultural landscapes. Seeking to fill that gap, a team of experts from many countries have gathered to develop a purpose-built tool.

Originally published on the World Agroforestry Website.

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