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Can the gene editing technology known as CRISPR help reduce biodiversity loss worldwide?

October 11th, 2019

It’s been an alarming year for the world’s outlook on biodiversity. The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) put the world on notice that around 1 million species are facing extinction. A study published in August concluded that it would take New Zealand 50 million years to recover the diversity …

The key to food security in Africa lies in the treasure trove of global crop biodiversity

October 7th, 2019

Global plant diversity could be a lifeline for food security in sub-Saharan Africa, finds a new study. 

The analysis reveals that replacing some at-risk African food crops with more resilient crops from other parts of the world, as well as tapping the huge genetic diversity of crop wild relatives, could help shore up …

Growing threat to food from decline in biodiversity

February 25th, 2019 / BBC, UK

The plants, animals, and micro-organisms that are the bedrock of food production are in decline, according to a UN study.

If these critical species are lost, the report says, it “places the future of our food system under severe threat”.

The study says that land-use changes, pollution, and climate change are all …

We don’t have to choose between food and biodiversity

February 13th, 2019 / Devex.com

Biodiversity along the food chain helps to maintain the air we breathe and the water we drink. Yet today, the world’s biodiversity is undergoing a crisis not seen since the extinction of the dinosaurs. 

In just the past year, several studies show we are losing insects along the food chain at an alarming …

Plummeting insect numbers ‘threaten collapse of nature’

February 12th, 2019 / The Guardian, UK

The world’s insects are hurtling down the path to extinction, threatening a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”, according to the first global scientific review.

More than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered, the analysis found. The rate of extinction is eight times faster than that of …

Reap big from mixing farming with forestry

January 31st, 2019 / Sunrise, Uganda

Agroforestry is the practice of growing trees and/or keeping livestock on the same field at the same time.

The trees could be grown purposely for timber production, shed, nutrients or medicine.  Trees could be planted on purely agricultural land or crops could be introduced to forested lands.

There are a number of …

At least 60% of wild coffee species face extinction triggered by climate change and disease

January 17th, 2019 / Independent, UK

Two decades of research have revealed that 60 per cent of the world’s coffeespecies face extinction due to the combined threats of deforestation, disease and climate change.

The wild strain of arabica, the most widely consumed coffee on the planet, is among those now recognised as endangered, raising concerns about its long-term survival.

These results are worrying …

DNA project to decode ‘all complex life’ on Earth

November 14th, 2018 / BBC, UK

A mission to sequence the genome of every known animal, plant, fungus and protozoan – a group of single-celled organisms – is underway.
The Earth BioGenome Project (EBP) has been described as a “moonshot for biology”. A key aim is to use the information in efforts to conserve threatened species. Scientists …

Small genetic differences turn plants into better teams

November 13th, 2018 / Science Daily

The ongoing worldwide loss of biological diversity is one of the most pressing challenges humankind currently faces. Biodiversity is vital to humans not least because it supports ecosystem services such as the provision of clean water and the production of biomass and food. Many experiments have shown that diverse communities …

With veganism a rapidly growing dietary choice in developed countries, why should we conserve livestock diversity?

October 25th, 2018 / Food Forever

Jimmy Smith, Director General, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and Food Forever Champion writes:
In the United States last year, an estimated 6% of the population identified as vegan, a rise of 600% since 2014. On the other side of the Atlantic, the number of Britons who have removed animal products …