Identifying food security benefits of biological diversity

Recognising food security value of biodiversity
To ensure the long-term food security for a country, a variety of beneficial organisms and their habitats are important for ensuring the protection and productivity of food crops.
Food is a basic necessity. For a country to progress and develop, it must ensure the ongoing availability of food. Plants and animals including fish, are the pre-eminent source of food. Only a handful of species have been utilised for food production at the global level while many countries still harbours many potential species which could be developed into food sources in the future.

Humans derive almost 60% of their calories and proteins from three species of plants, viz. maize, wheat and rice. Rice is an important staple food for millions of people, and a large number of wild species and landraces of rice remain to be developed. Protection of such biological diversity is critical for the breeding of improved varieties with higher yield and/or resistance to pests and diseases.

Ex-situ conservation of both wild species and genetic resources of wild crop relatives, wild plants and domestic animal breeds useful for food production should be encouraged whenever they cannot be conserved in situ or when their conservation in situ is under serious threat.

Food plants exemplify the most fundamental values of biodiversity. Originally, plants were consumed directly from the wild, and gathering of wild produce continues throughout the world today. Only a few of the many species of flowering plants have been treated as direct food sources though others provide food for animals which in turn are hunted or farmed by people.

Around 200 species have been domesticated as food plants, and of these about 20 are crops of major international economic importance. Relatively few botanical families account for the world's main food plants: Gramineae (grasses, including cereals) and Leguminosae (legumes, including peas, beans and lentils) are foremost among these.

1. Of the 250 000 to 300 000 known plant species, 4 percent are edible, but only 15 to 200 are used by humans.
Type Classification:
E: Emanations of other strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 2: Zero HungerGOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal