Mankind's Life Insurance Policy
|•||In the Mekong-Delta, the clearing of forests with a wealth of diverse species has led to flooding, to the resettlement of one million persons, and to the loss of 500 km2 of farmland.|
|•||On many continents, the decline in the number of natural enemies has led to a massive increase in harmful organisms.|
|•||99% of our medicines and cosmetics are based on plant substances.|
A mere three types of cereal – corn, wheat, and rice – satisfy more than half of our foodstuffs requirement worldwide. Our eating habits call for standardization in the size, form, and type of
food we eat, thus making it less resistant while, in parallel, other sorts of nourishment die out. In addition, the overexploitation of nature coupled with the impact of climate change threatens to
reduce in quantity or even to bring to extinction nearly two-thirds of the species currently found on the planet.
Thanks to the multiplicity of various genetic compositions and the diversity of species that have emerged over the course of the earth's history, we have the power to react to different threats posed by climate change or human illnesses. Yet, in order to preserve these organisms so crucial to our survival, we must ensure that their natural habitats remain intact and are able to regulate themselves according to the laws of nature. Indeed, experience has shown that massive human interference has upset the natural balance of their habitats.
Utilization and Preservation – Walking a Tightrope
Biodiversity is on a tightrope a) between management and long-term preservation, and b) between conservation and traditional use. On the one hand, the transformation of natural ecosystems into large farmland leads to an intensification of agricultural production and to a better food supply for urban agglomerations. On the other hand, the vast diversity of trees, plants, and animals disappears, not only penalizing the local populations in terms of feeding themselves, but also depriving medical research of important resources and facilitating the advent of natural disasters. Even though nature reserves and national parks in developing countries serve as a means of species protection and can create significant income from tourism, they bar the local population from access to their traditional habitat. The challenge is to arrange for rural areas to be cultivated sparingly and to the advantage of all concerned. This means that measures for sustainable use of ecosystems must be determined with the involvement of the local population, the tourist sector, and the authorities.
The SDC focus: Local Populations – the Key to Preserving Biodiversity
Additional Information and Documents
- T’ikapapa - Peruvian native potato initiative
- Protecting walnut trees generates new income
- Forests and agroecological systems in the Andes
- Dossier: Potato - archived
Articles and Press releases
- Adhésion au Fonds fiduciaire pour la diversité des cultures à l’échelle mondiale
- Maize research to benefit poorest honoured