Environment and conservation

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

Although the agricultural production systems in many parts of Africa are extensive and more or less traditional cropping and livestock systems, they can have strong environmental impacts. For example, natural forest, wetland and riverine ecosystems are frequently under pressure from conversion to agricultural land or from the need of smallholder farmers for wood, charcoal and irrigation water. Agricultural intensification could help reducing 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 (genes, species, ecosystems).

This thematic area features contributions related to:

  • Biodiversity conservation within agricultural production systems, e.g., plant and animal diversity associated with agricultural production systems, effects of pesticides and fertilizers on species diversity, diversity of cropping systems, crop genetic diversity, agroforestry systems, ecosystem services of agricultural production systems
  • Biodiversity conservation at the landscape level, e.g., structural diversity of agricultural systems, landscape fragmentation, effects of agricultural expansion on forest and other natural ecosystems, ecosystem degradation, conservation measures and management agreements, environmental education and livelihood programs
  • 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