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Home>Major Activities>Seminars and Workshops in 2010>Enhancement of Functional Biodiversity Relevant to Sustainable Food Production in the ASPAC Region



Date
November 8 - 12
Venue
Japan
Co-sponsors
Taiwan Forestry Research Institute (TFRI), Taiwan ROC
National Institute for Agro-Environmental Science (NIAES), Japan
National Institute of Fruit Tree Science (NIFTS), Japan
Background / Highlights of Activity

Under the ‘Convention on Biological Diversity’ (CDB), functional biodiversity is considered as one of the vital resources toward achieving sustainable agriculture. The conversion of conventional agriculture to one which fully exploits the potential of functional biodiversity has become a matter of public concern, and a variety of activities have been initiated in various parts of the world to enhance functional biodiversity. However, ‘indicators’ which are capable of quantitatively evaluating the effect of functional biodiversity at the farm level have not been developed yet. Some potential and promising indicators are natural enemies (parasitoids, neutrals, herbivores, and predators), pollinators (bees), and some specific plant species.

Since 1980, a significant decline in pollinator diversity and density has been reported in the UK and the Netherlands. In recent years, scientists and agriculturists worldwide have become considerably concerned with this phenomenon. Pollinators are known to play a crucial role in the reproduction of flowering plant species, particularly those of agricultural importance such as vegetables, fruits, and ornamental flowers. Pollinator decline is attributed to the destruction of habitat and changes in the agricultural environment. However, some of the major factors contributing to this great decline remain to be identified.

In view of this serious decline in functional biodiversity such as that of natural enemies and pollinators, measures for preservation and increase are of vital importance for the development of sustainable crop production. It is therefore a matter of urgency to identify and develop ‘indicators’ for evaluating the effect of cultural practices and/or agricultural technologies on functional biodiversity at the farm level, and based upon such indicators, to develop a simple and practical technique to evaluate the effectiveness of functional biodiversity in sustainable agricultural production systems.

In 2010, the 10th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP10) will be held in Nagoya, Japan with the participation of 190 countries worldwide, primarily to verify their commitment made in 2002 “to achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on Earth.”

This international seminar aims to obtain a better understanding of the current status of functional biodiversity, in particular, focusing on natural enemies and pollinators in the Asian and Pacific region. Where significant decreases in functional biodiversity are observed in certain areas/countries/region, factors responsible for the decline and its adverse effects on short- and long-term crop production shall be discussed. Also, this seminar aims at sharing and exchanging relevant information and promising technologies/management strategies to enhance functional diversity for sustainable crop production. Promising ‘indicators’ for evaluating the effect of cultural practices and/or agricultural technologies on functional biodiversity will also be identified and initially proposed for the Asian monsoon areas.

Objectives:

    1. To get an overview of the current status of functional biodiversity, particularly natural enemies and pollinators, in the ASPAC region;
    2. To elucidate the factors responsible for the decline in functional biodiversity;
    3. To share and exchange information and technologies relevant to the enhancement of functional biodiversity for sustainable crop production; and
    4. To propose ‘indicators’ and simple and practical techniques for the evaluation of the effectiveness of functional biodiversity in sustainable agricultural production systems for the Asian monsoon region.