Exploration of monitoring and modelling agrobiodiversity : from indicator development towards modelling biodiversity in agricultural systems on the sub-specific level

Buiteveld, J.; Veller, M.G.P. van; Hiemstra, S.J.; Brink, B. ten; Tekelenburg, T.


The objective of this project is to contribute to the development of a number of key biodiversity indicators for crops and livestock in agriculture. On a global level both for crop and livestock species there has been a general tendency towards uniformity in the culture of crops and livestock production systems. Local varieties are replaced by a small number of highly productive – non native – ones, dominating the world’s agriculture. The loss of diversity in cultivated varieties and livestock breeds also has been referred to as genetic erosion and may form a hazard for sustainable agricultural production or food security, agricultural products and income. It is for these threats that it is important to have an idea on the status of genetic biodiversity (agrobiodiversity) within a particular agricultural production system in the past, present and future. Consequently, the CBD (Convention on Biological Diversity) aims at establishing indicators that monitor status and trends in agrobiodiversity. The FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA) also included development of indicators in its Multi Year Program of Work. After their development and (international) acceptance they can be used to assess the state, trends, causes and possible consequences of changes. Also, they can be applied to examine or model effects of different policy measures. The aim of this project is to contribute to the development of a few key agrobiodiversity indicators drawing on and coherent with the work under the CBD, FAO and in the European program Streamlining European Biodiversity Indicators (SEBI). Analysis and modelling of the relationships between pressure factors and agrobiodiversity will enable assessments of past, present and future trends and their consequences on various human functions such as food security, poverty, environmental quality, landscape and wild biodiversity. The project was carried out by the Centre of Genetic Resources, the Netherlands (CGN) in close cooperation with the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) and was funded by the Research Programme International Cooperation and International Agreements of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Quality and Nature Management of the Netherlands