Benefits to Man – Food, Drink and Agriculture
- Biodiversity is important for agriculture as it provides not only plants and animals for human consumption, but also a source of genetic diversity for plant and animal breeders.
- Climate change is altering the agricultural practices of many countries and new varieties of plants and even new species will be required for survival in these ever changing conditions.
- Genetic diversity also provides a source of new variation to cater for changing fashions or an increase in the nutritional value of food e.g. low fat milk and high protein content cereal crops.
- These genes can also be introduced into organisms by genetic engineering techniques.
In October, 2004 The Voice of America web-casters asked their correspondent, Gwen Outen to report on a special agricultural report – Importance of Biodiversity by Mario Ritter.
Visit the Report web page
This report highlights some very important reasons why biodiversity is important to agriculture.
Answer the following questions, based on this article, your general knowledge of farming, food and agriculture and the World Food Day website.
- The United nations chose the message for this year’s World Food Day as ‘Biodiversity for Food Security’. Why did they choose this phrase?
- How many people worldwide are hungry?
- Plants for the future, especially in the ‘light’ of climate change, will need to be chosen to adapt to a variety of changing conditions. Suggest three.
- How much of the world’s land surface is used for agriculture?
- What is the role of bees and butterflies in agriculture?
- There is a rich variety of cultivated plants and domesticated animals used in agriculture. How many mammal species do we depend on for our food supplies?
- Name as many of these as you can.
- The world depends on four main crop plants. What are they?
- Name some other important crop species.
- Farmers should take a responsibility for protecting biodiversity. What are the risks from farming?
Benefits to man - Medicine