MSN News – A decline in the diversity of farmed plants and livestock breeds is gathering pace, threatening future food supplies for the world’s growing population, the head of a new United Nations panel on biodiversity said on Monday.
Preserving neglected animal breeds and plants is necessary, as they could have genes resistant to future diseases or to shifts in the climate to warmer temperatures, more droughts or downpours, Zakri Abdul Hamid said.
“The loss of biodiversity is happening faster and everywhere, even among farm animals,” Zakri told a conference of 450 experts in Trondheim, Norway, in his first speech as founding chair of the U.N. biodiversity panel.
Many traditional breeds of cattle, sheep and goats have fallen out of favor, often because they yield less meat or milk than new breeds. Globalization also means that people’s food preferences narrow down to fewer plants.
Zakri said there were 30,000 edible plants but that just 30 crops accounted for 95 percent of the energy in human food, which is dominated by rice, wheat, maize, millet and sorghum.
He said it is “more important than ever to have a large genetic pool to enable organisms to withstand and adapt to new conditions.” That would help to ensure food for a global population set to reach 9 billion by 2050 from 7 billion now.
Zakri noted that the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization estimated last year that 22 percent of the world’s livestock breeds were at risk of extinction. That means there are fewer than 1,000 animals in each breed.
The extinctions of some domesticated animals and plants is happening in tandem with accelerating losses of wild species caused by factors such as deforestation, expansion of cities, pollution and climate change, he said.
Irene Hoffmann, chief of the Food and Agriculture Organization’s animal genetic resources branch, told Reuters that 8 percent of livestock breeds have already become extinct.
Many nations have started breeding programs for rare livestock, from llamas to pigs. Some are freezing embryos or even stem cells that might be used in cloning, she said.
In 2010, governments set goals including halting the extinction of known threatened species by 2020 and expanding the area set aside in parks or protected areas for wildlife to 17 percent of the Earth’s land surface, from about 13 percent now.
Embrapa Labex KoreaThis is the weblog of Labex Korea, an international cooperation program of the Brazilian Agricultural Research Organization, Embrapa. More here.
Partner OrganizationLabex Korea is hosted by the Rural Development Administration.
- Pesticide Study Sparks Backlash
- H7N9 kills 2 more, causing new infections in China
- New Programme to Support Animal Welfare at Slaughter
- Brazilian researchers develop technique for mass breeding of stingless bees
- Meat Products in the European Union 2013-2023
- Agriculture can be an ally to biodiversity conservation
- Computer modeling helps to improve the quality and microbiological safety of food
- The challenges to biofuel expansion
- Blocking insect digestion to control pests wp.me/pD58e-1FV 4 years ago
- Fairtrade Foundation report damns treatment of smallholder farmers wp.me/pD58e-1Ga 4 years ago
- Transgenic eucalyptus yields 20% more than conventional wp.me/pD58e-1HK 4 years ago
- At least 70% of Earth’s species still unknown wp.me/pD58e-1I9 4 years ago
- Vitamin Enriched Cassava wp.me/pD58e-1Fm 4 years ago
- Do plants 'veto' bad genes? wp.me/pD58e-1FD 4 years ago
- Empowering smallholder farmers to create sustainable change - live discussion wp.me/pD58e-1Gj 4 years ago
- Brazilian soybean biodiesel emits 70% less greenhouse gases than fossil diesel wp.me/pD58e-1HC 4 years ago
- Microalgae oil can turn biofuel wp.me/pD58e-1Hz 4 years ago
- Simple Physics May Limit the Size of Leaves wp.me/pD58e-1Gy 4 years ago
Browse by Categories
Pages in the Weblog
See posts by dates
- The seven challenges of agribusiness - the journey of the next 10 years
- Genetic Resources Management at the Brazilian Agricultural Research Organization
- Transgenic eucalyptus yields 20% more than conventional
- The Soil erosion and global warming
- With the help of bioinformatics, USP group creates catalog of genes from species of Eimeria
- 134,703 hits
Contact UsYour comments and suggestions are always welcome and appreciated. E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org