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Tropentag, September 20 - 22, 2017 in Bonn

"Future Agriculture: Social-ecological transitions and bio-cultural shifts"

Adaptive Management of Agrobiodiversity in Biocultural Landscapes: Experiences from the Field

Dunja Mijatovic1, Maedeh Salimi2, Helga Gruberg Cazón3, Reuben Mendakor Shabong4, Alejandro González Álvarez5, Sajal Sthapit6, Stanley Zira7, Ghanimat Azhdari2, Sonthana Maneerattanachaiyong8, Alberto Tarraza Rodríguez5, Epsha Palikhey6, Lal Wakkumbure9, Natalia Estrada-Carmona10, Toby Hodgkin1

1The Platform for Agrobiodiversity Research (PAR), Italy
2The Centre for Sustainable Development (CENESTA), Participatory Agricultural Research, Iran
3Fundación Gaia Pacha, Bolivia
4North East Slow Food and Agrobiodiversity Society (NESFAS), India
5Instituto de Investigaciones Fundamentales en Agricultura Tropical 'Alejandro de Humboldt' (INIFAT), Cuba
6Local Initiatives for Biodiversity, Research and Development (LI-BIRD), Nepal
7Southern Alliance for Indigenous Resources, Zimbabwe
8Pgakenyaw Association for Sustainable Development, Thailand
9The Green Movement, Sri Lanka
10Bioversity International, France


Agrobiodiversity makes up part of the adaptive capacity and resilience of biocultural landscapes; it allows for continuous innovation and evolution in response to new environmental challenges. Local communities, consciously or unconsciously, influence agrobiodiversity through various management and cultural practices. In this study, we combine agrobiodiversity conservation approaches and social-ecological systems thinking to explore the adaptive management of agrobiodiversity in eight distinct biocultural landscapes around the world, including pastoral, agroforestry and high mountain sites in Bolivia, Cuba, India, Iran, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Zimbabwe. Adaptive management is a process of community decision-making about diversity that integrates new experiences and knowledge into management practices to increase resilience, and involves adjustments in response to new experiences and observations. Adaptive management largely depends on the collective engagement of community members through local institutions that can take different forms, from specific management plans to shared sets of beliefs. Data were collected in household surveys, focus group discussions, and through participant observation and other methods. The results of our study show the evolution of local institutions that guide the processes of adaptation in the face of climate change and uncertainty, and ensure equitable sharing of resources. Better understanding of adaptive management of agrobiodiversity can help identify constraints and opportunities for strengthening climate change resilience through the strategies of diversification, conservation and restoration. We provide recommendations for initiatives targeting landscapes that comprise the global biocultural heritage and serve as reservoirs of crop genetic resources of critical importance for future food security and sustainable development.

Keywords: Adaptive management, agrobiodiversity, biocultural landscapes, resilience

Contact Address: Dunja Mijatovic, The Platform for Agrobiodiversity Research (PAR), Rome, Italy, e-mail: dunja.mijatovic@agrobiodiversityplatform.org

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