HIGHER YIELDS OF FOOD AND NUTRITION FROM THE SAME LAND SURFACE BY SUPPORTING BIODIVERSITY AND ECOSYSTEM SERVICES
In partnership with the University of Reading School of Agriculture, Policy and Development (SAPD), the World Bee Project (WBP) vision is to contribute to a global shift towards ecological intensification.
The University of Reading is the most highly ranked UK institution for agriculture. It is in the top 1% worldwide. The shared expertise of the SAPD and the WPB enables our partnership to develop projects and build capacity to address global agricultural challenges and to ensure important impacts through wider engagement with the public, NGOs and policy makers.
The IPBES Report on Pollinators, Pollination and Food Production recommends the "promotion of sustainable agriculture which helps to diversify the agricultural landscape and makes use of ecological processes as part of food production."
Ecological intensification has recently been developed and adopted as a key concept and driver for research and policy in sustainable agriculture.
A holistic , regenerative approach, ecological intensification recognises the interdependence of all living systems.
'Ecological Intensification' is a harmonious way of relating to the land, a concept for producing more from the same land surface. It is described as “a knowledge-intensive process that requires optimal management of nature’s ecological functions and biodiversity to improve agricultural system performance; efficiency and farmers’ livelihoods. It is about understanding how nature functions so we can harvest its resources without destroying it, producing more and breaking with practices based on excessive use of pesticides, chemical fertilisers, water and fossil fuels”.
ECOLOGICAL INTENSIFICATION OF AGRICULTURE AND ECOLOGICAL INFRASTRUCTURE CAN TACKLE THE THREATS TO POLLINATOR DIVERSITY AND ABUNDANCE
Ecologically intensified farming develops, restores and regenerates the ecosystem services and biodiversity that are essential for sustainable agriculture. It enhances foraging resources for honeybees and diverse ‘wild’ pollinators and by conserving habitats, creating nesting sites and introducing diverse species of flowering plants it fosters more resilient and healthier pollinator populations. The boost in native biodiversity leads to a boost in pollination and in natural predators like ladybirds that eat aphids, and in turn a sustainable intensification of crops. By introducing zero tilling, carefully designed crop rotation, composting and avoiding excessive use of pesticides, chemical fertilisers, water and fossil fuels, it regenerates and even improves degraded land by restoring the natural ability of the microbiology present in healthy soil to hold carbon.
The ecological intensification approach leads to higher yields from the same land surface, helping farmer adaptation to climate change and considerably improving the productivity of small-scale farmers and their livelihoods. This is important because farmer poverty poses long-term risks to sustainable agriculture.
The ecological intensification approach to farming is the long-term promising solution to pollination decline, food and nutrition insecurity and farmer poverty.
To learn more please see this animated video. It was made within the framework of the EC’s 7th Framework Programme in partnership with the University of Reading and other universities.