Managing Wild Species and Systems for Food Security

One of the greatest challenges facing humanity is ensuring food security for the 9 billion people expected by the year 2050 while conserving biodiversity and ecosystem services furnished by natural systems. Two linked pathways toward a solution will be explored by this workshop: the use of more diversity in agricultural systems, including tapping the variation within wild plant species related to food crops, and managing forest systems more effectively for food. Many wild relatives of important food crops are at risk as their habitats are threatened by poor management and encroachment. How to ensure effective conservation and management of these species and the forest and other non-agricultural ecosystems in which they are found by engaging major stakeholders including researchers, community leaders, agriculturists, including women food producers and natural resource managers will be discussed. For millennia forests and other non-agricultural ecosystems have been managed to better satisfy a variety of human and societal needs, including the need for food. However, these traditional forms of management have remained mostly invisible to researchers. This workshop will focus on identifying, understanding and evaluating varying types and degrees of management of nonagricultural systems and species for food, their realities, potentials, and the trade-offs they demand. Past, present, and possible future contributions of managed forests to food security, especially in light of climate change, will be assessed. Researchers will be joined by government planners, and members of conservation and development focused NGOs from in brief presentations, scenario building, and discussion. Concrete outputs of the event will include funding strategies and road maps for carrying forward the effective conservation and management of forests and other nonagricultural areas and species, and especially crop wild relatives, with partners to ensure food and nutrition security.

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