Biodiversity mainstreaming for healthy & sustainable food systems: A toolkit to support incorporating biodiversity into policies and programmes

Hunter, D.; Borelli, T.; Olsen Lauridsen, N.; Gee, E.; Rota Nodari, G.; Moura de Oliveira Beltrame, D.; Oliviera, C.; W. Wasike, V.; Samarasinghe, G.; Tan, A.; Güner, B. (2018). Biodiversity mainstreaming for healthy & sustainable food systems: A toolkit to support incorporating biodiversity into policies and programmes. Rome: Italy, Bioversity International, 52 p.

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The Biodiversity for Food and Nutrition Initiative (BFN Project) uses indigenous food biodiversity as a lens to address malnutrition, farmer livelihood resilience, and sustainability. Since 2012, the initiative has pioneered a cross-sectoral, partner-based approach to document and share information on 195 nutrient-rich, locally-adapted species ranging from African leafy vegetables to Amazonian fruits. Spearheaded by governments and research organizations in Brazil, Kenya, Sri Lanka, and Turkey, BFN developed a three-pronged methodology to ensure the conservation, revival, and promotion of these underutilised species.

This toolkit is an open-access guide to mainstreaming biodiversity that draws on case studies across the four partner countries, outlining steps to 1) Provide Evidence; 2) Influence Policy, and 3) Raise Awareness. With an emphasis on both key focus areas and site-specific examples, the toolkit offers readers inspiration to adapt the work of BFN to other regions. Links to key resources collect additional information and contextualise the project methods, for example, in relation to the FAO Voluntary Guidelines for Mainstreaming Biodiversity into Policies, Programmes and National and Regional Plans on Nutrition. Focus points within the toolkit include how to make use of: National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plans, school feeding and procurement, green employment, cultural festivals, and business cases for mainstreaming biodiversity.

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Are the old International Board for Plant Genetic Resources (IBPGR) base collections available through the Plant Treaty’s multilateral system of access and benefit sharing? A review

Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution, pp 1–20

Imke Thormann, Johannes M. M. Engels, Michael Halewood

1. Bioversity International, Rome, Italy
2. Federal Office for Agriculture and Food, Bonn, Germany

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In 1975, the International Board for Plant Genetic Resources created the first internationally linked system of genebanks, known as the Registry of Base Collections (RBC), to conserve plant germplasm and make it available globally for agricultural research and development. Over time, international efforts shifted away from enhancing and building the RBC toward other means to promote the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources. Perhaps the most important development in this regard was the negotiation of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (Plant Treaty or ITPGRFA) and the development of its multilateral system for access and benefit sharing (multilateral system). Our study aimed to ascertain whether the RBC materials are still being conserved/curated in the original recipient organizations. We also sought to assess whether those materials have been included in, and are available through, the ITPGRFA’s multilateral system. This outcome would be significant since, in many ways, the multilateral system reflects the spirit, commitment, and objectives of the RBC, with important additional components (e.g. obligations to share monetary benefits derived from the uses of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture). We identify four levels of probability that RBC materials are included in, and available through, the multilateral system. Ultimately, we find that there is a high level of probability that approximately 80% of the RBC materials are currently available through the multilateral system. We further identify a number of possible interventions that could be made to ensure that all RBC materials are conserved and made available through the multilateral system (or on similar terms and conditions of facilitated access and benefit sharing).

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Are agricultural researchers working on the right crops to enable food and nutrition security under future climates?

This study examined how crop-specific agricultural research investments can be prioritised to anticipate climate change impact on crops and to enable the production of more nutritious food. We used a simple crop modelling approach to derive expected future changes in regional climate suitability for crops. To determine if different starch-rich and pulse crops are currently underresearched or overresearched, we examined the global relation between crop-specific research output (number of publications) and the total nutrient output available for human consumption. Our analysis shows that current research investments are mostly associated with the current energy output of crops. Other things equal, investment levels tend to be slightly lower for crops better adapted to future climates and tend to decrease as crop nutrient richness increases. Among starch-rich crops, maize, barley, and rice receive substantially more research investment than justified by their current nutrient output. Sweetpotato, potato, and wheat show substantial current research deficits. Sweetpotato is most strongly underresearched in regions with improving climate suitability. For potato, research deficits occur in regions where these crops will experience less suitable climate conditions. For wheat, the deficits are distributed equally across regions with negative and positive climate effects. Three crops are significantly over-researched, namely maize, rice, and barley. Among pulses, cowpea, and lupin are generally overresearched. Common bean is highly underresearched, but these deficits concentrate in areas where it will likely suffer from climate change. Lentil, broad bean, and chickpea are underresearched, with deficits concentrating in regions where these crops will tend to benefit from future climates. Agricultural research investment allocations will need to consider additional factors not taken into account in this study, but our findings suggest that current allocations need reconsideration to support climate adaptation and enhance healthy human nutrition.

Global Environmental Change, Volume 53, November 2018, Pages 182-194

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Nature Index: World of high-quality scientific research

The Nature Index 2018 Annual Tables has been released, and the United States is the world’s largest contributor to high-quality scientific research papers, followed by China and Germany. These tables track by country and institution the research published in 82 high-quality journals each year, counting both the total number of papers and the share of authorship of each paper.

The Nature Index Annual Tables show calendar year output in Nature Index journals for the last three years, and reveal the countries, institutions and companies that are leading the way in publishing high-quality global science. The Nature Index is compiled by Nature Research, part of Springer Nature, and forms part of Nature Research’s wider efforts to provide the research community with relevant information about the state of global science and publishing trends.

The leading international institutions in the 2018 tables are: the Chinese Academy of Sciences (1), Harvard University, US (2), Max Planck Society, Germany (3), French National Centre for Scientific Research (4), Stanford University, US (5), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US (6), Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres, Germany (7), The University of Tokyo, Japan (8), University of California Berkeley, US (9) University of Cambridge, UK and (10)  F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG, Switzerland, is the top performing corporate institution globally.


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Plant Direct: a new open access journal in the plant sciences

A new open access journal has just been launched that could be of interest when next considering where to submit your research papers.

Publisher John Wiley & Sons, Inc. has announced the launch of Plant Direct, a new open access journal published in collaboration with the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) and the Society for Experimental Biology (SEB).
Plant Direct is a new open access, sound science journal for the plant sciences that gives prompt and equal consideration to papers reporting work dealing with a variety of subjects. Topics include but are not limited to genetics, biochemistry, development, cell biology, biotic stress, abiotic stress, genomics, phenomics, bioinformatics, physiology, molecular biology, and evolution.

A collaborative journal launched by ASPB, SEB, and Wiley, Plant Direct publishes papers submitted directly to the journal as well as those referred from a select group of the societies’ journals.  Plant Direct’s website can be found here


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New publication reveals that farmers are the best source for conservation practices

How do we conserve the amazing diversity of tropical fruit trees in a way that brings benefits to the people who look after them? Why don’t we ask the farmers?

That’s exactly what the researchers and editors of the latest Issues in Agricultural Biodiversity book decided to do. They traveled across four Asian countries and extensively documented farmer-developed good practices for maintaining, marketing and safeguarding fruit tree species in the hopes of one day putting it all in writing for everyone to share.

The rather monumental cherry on top of their research*, Earthscan-published Tropical Fruit Tree Diversity: Good practices for in situ and on-farm conservation is now out. It outlines a framework for on-farm conservation, drawn from the real ways that communities and farmers implement conservation strategies through their everyday practices.

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Bioversity International annual report 2015

Published today 23rd May 2016!

In the report you will find examples that show the impact of Bioversity International’s work on people’s lives on the ground in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Our work is organized around three initiatives: ‘Healthy Diets from Sustainable Food Systems’, ‘Productive and Resilient Farms, Forests and Landscapes’ and ‘Effective Genetic Resources Conservation and Use’.

The report also presents information about our Board of Trustees, funding and research partners, scientific publications and financial performance during 2015.

Read the Bioversity International Annual Report 2015

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