Can enhancing diversity help scale up agriculture's benefits to people and the environment?

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Award Year: 
2019
Principal Investigator: 
Zia Mehrabi, University of British Columbia
Claire Kremen, University of British Columbia
Associated Program: 

 

Diversity matters. Diversity in colour, gender, culture, and ideas, are what make our world interesting and beautiful. In recent years diversity in our agricultural systems has been rapidly changing. Two existing SESYNC projects aim to understand the political drivers of this change, and its impacts on human nutrition. Our project aims to complement, and work with, these existing projects by laying the groundwork for operationalizing a monitoring network for assessing the benefits and costs of agricultural diversification with respect to the Food-Energy- Water nexus. To do this, our project will analyze and synthesize data from our network’s existing empirical projects in North America, South America and Africa. Each of these projects works with multiple farms arrayed across local and landscape-scale gradients of diversification. We will couple these analyses with a coordinated mapping effort to synthesize large-scale data sets and classifications of agricultural diversity patterns. We will then integrate these data to (1) undertake trade-off and multifunctionality analysis, (2) identify key gaps in currently linking social and environmental outcomes in survey instruments, and (3) devise a common protocol for operationalizing assessments of agricultural landscape diversity and outcomes over time. Our rich localized data-sets, coupled with our growing collaborative global network offer an opportunity for new scientific insights into the assessing the costs and benefits of agricultural diversification at large spatial scales. Our commitment to working with farmers in the fields across geographic and cultural contexts offer a direct means to translate insights into action.

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