Agrobiodiversity threats amid expanding woody monocultures and hopes nourished through farmer and food movements in the Mediterranean - INRAE - Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement Access content directly
Journal Articles Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene Year : 2024

Agrobiodiversity threats amid expanding woody monocultures and hopes nourished through farmer and food movements in the Mediterranean

Abstract

The high biodiversity of food and agriculture (agrobiodiversity) in the Mediterranean exists in rapidly changing landscapes and food systems. The first goal of this Commentary is to explain how agrobiodiverse Mediterranean food cereals and legumes are threatened by the accelerating expansion and intensification of monocultures of woody crops-principally olive, nut, grape, and citrus monocrops-in landscapes of the western Mediterranean (Spain, Morocco, and France). Its second goal is to explain the key countervailing force of specific food and farmer movements, organizations, and practices supporting agrobiodiversity. We argue this food agrobiodiversity support is timely and vital because of growing threats. Intensive woody monocultures have been promoted for climate change adaptation and policies, while the proposed agroecological alternatives to woody monocultures show a mixed record regarding the support of food agrobiodiversity. The Mediterranean's boom of woody monocultures relies on increased irrigation, including groundwater extraction, that undermines water sustainability. We engage with policy to explain how the timely support of food agrobiodiversity by farmer and food movements and practices demonstrates the production-consumption linkages that can strengthen sustainability, biodiversity conservation, and climate change adaptation/mitigation. Our policy arguments focus on the promising bridge of agrobiodiversity's production-consumption linkages to agroecology as an increasingly influential approach in these policy sectors. Finally, as a key complementary goal, we reflect on current agrobiodiversity-monoculture challenges by engaging the broad themes of rural-urban networks and urbanization in the Mediterranean, the land sparing versus land sharing debate, and the Plantationocene concept. Each thematic reflection enhances the understanding of food agrobiodiversity threats and support, landscapes of mixed agrobiodiversity and intensified woody monocultures (monoculture-agrobiodiversity landscapes), and relevant policy insight.
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hal-04580724 , version 1 (20-05-2024)

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Karl S. Zimmerer, Yildiz Aumeeruddy-Thomas, Sophie Caillon, Yolanda Jiménez-Olivencia, Laura Porcel-Rodríguez, et al.. Agrobiodiversity threats amid expanding woody monocultures and hopes nourished through farmer and food movements in the Mediterranean. Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene, 2024, 12 (1), pp.00093. ⟨10.1525/elementa.2023.00093⟩. ⟨hal-04580724⟩
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