Environment and conservation

“Environment and conservation” deals with the environmental impacts of biomass production, processing and trade and the conservation of biodiversity in agricultural landscapes.

Although agricultural production systems in many parts of Africa are extensive, primarily traditional cropping and livestock systems, they can have strong environmental impacts. For example, natural forest, wetland and riverine ecosystems are frequently under pressure from a conversion to agricultural land, wood harvesting, and water withdrawal for irrigation. Agricultural intensification could help reduce the negative environmental effects of sprawling low-input cultivation systems, however only if land use decisions take into account environmental sustainability (water, soil) and biodiversity conservation.

This thematic area features contributions related to:

  • Biodiversity conservation within agricultural production systems, e.g., species diversity and ecosystem services of  agricultural production systems, effects of pesticides and fertilizers, diversity of cropping and agroforestry systems, crop genetic diversity
  • Biodiversity conservation at the landscape level, e.g., structural diversity of agricultural landscapes, landscape fragmentation, effects of agricultural expansion on natural ecosystems, ecosystem degradation, conservation measures and management agreements
  • Reducing the environmental footprint of biomass production, processing and trade, e.g., life cycle assessment, effects on water and soil, environmental certification schemes, technical solutions for environmental protection such as waste and water management

Theme coordinator: Christine Schmitt