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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Biodiversity, food provision and human health

Authors
item Wilby, Andrew - UNIVERSITY OF READING
item Mitchell, Charles - UNIVERSITY OF N. CAROLINA
item Blumenthal, Dana
item Daszak, Peter - LAMONT-DOHERTY EARTH OBSE
item Friedman, Carolyn - UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON
item Jutro, Peter - US EPA
item Maxumder, Asit - UNIVERSITY OF VICTORIA
item Prieur-Richard, Anne-Helene - DIVERSITAS
item Desprez-Loustau, Marie-Laure - INRA BORDEAUX
item Sharma, Manju - IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: August 16, 2005
Publication Date: January 21, 2009
Citation: Wilby, A., Mitchell, C., Blumenthal, D.M., Daszak, P., Friedman, C., Jutro, P., Maxumder, A., Prieur-Richard, A., Desprez-Loustau, M., Sharma, M. 2009. Biodiversity, food provision and human health. Island Press, Washington, D.C. Book Chapter.

Technical Abstract: This chapter reviews interactions between biological diversity and human health. Many of these interactions revolve around food production. Humans use biological diversity to obtain food in two primary ways: by harvesting natural populations, as with fishing, hunting, or grazing of native ecosystems; and by farming, including both terrestrial farming and aquaculture. Among agricultural ecosystems, the intensity of production varies greatly. For example an irrigated cropping system is both more resource intensive and more productive than a grazed native grassland. In both harvested and farmed systems, increasing intensity of agricultural production tends to lead to decreasing biological diversity. In turn, detrimental effects of agriculture on biological diversity can feed back to reduce agricultural productivity, as is often seen with over fishing. In order to minimize tradeoffs between food production and biological diversity priority should be given both to preserving extensive yet productive agroecosystems, and to incorporating more diversity into relatively intensive agroecosystems.

Last Modified: 10/22/2014
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