Agricultural biodiversity is critical for food security throughout the world. At the genetic, species, and farming systems levels, biodiversity provides valuable ecosytems services and functions for agricultural production. How can the erosion of agrobiodiversity be halted? How can it effectively be conserved and enhanced?
This article highlights key principles, policies, and practices for the sustain-able use, conservation and enhancement of agrobiodiversity for sustaining food security. After clarifying the serious threats from the global loss of agrobiodiversity, the article summarizes practical guidelines and lessons for biodiversity management in farming systems and landscapes. Such strategies build upon valuable local experiences and knowledge in traditional farming practices, and they also take advantage of recent scientific findings in agroecology and ecosystem health. There is an urgent need to adopt an agroecosytems approach, beyond a focus on genetic resource conservation alone, to implement other biodiversity-enhancing methods in farms, such as integrated ecological pest and soil management. Conflicting agricultural politics that promote monocultural industrial farming models and uniform technology packages need to be eliminated. In addition, the protection of intellectual property rights is vital for those who have knowledge of the values and uses of such biodiversity, particularly for indigenous peoples and small farmers. The approaches reviewed in this analysis show effective ways to conserve, use and enhance biodiversity that will encourage sustainable food security.