Sustainable Food Production & Biodiversity

Key Facts:

  • 75% of the world’s food is generated from only 12 plants and 5 animal species 
  • Agriculture is responsible for 80% of deforestation

Biodiversity is the wondrous variety of life on earth. From plants to animals and the ecosystems in which they live, diversity of wildlife is essential for the planet’s health and essential for our survival. Without insects to pollinate plants, for example, we would be unable to grow food! The way we’re using our land and oceans to produce food is doing serious damage to the earth’s natural resources. There are 28,000 species at risk of extinction in the world today and 86% of these species are directly threatened by agriculture is responsible for 60% of global biodiversity.  One third of marine stocks were overfished in 2015, with another 60 percent fished at maximum sustainable levels. If we want future generations to be able to produce nutritious food, we must protect and maintain biodiversity on land and in our seas.  

How does our food system damage biodiversity? 

  • Exploiting oceans 
    • Overfishing seriously decreases marine wildlife populations  
  • Deforestation 
    • Cutting down forests to make space for farming removes the trees that absorb carbon dioxide (which helps combat global warming) and destroys the habitats in which millions of animal species live.  
  • Growing too much of a single crop 
    • A diverse range of life on earth is what sustains the planet’s health, so when we grow too much of a single plant, we damage the wealth of different wildlife. Palm oil, for example, is in high demand – it’s used in nearly 50% of all packaged goods. We are cutting down diverse forests to farm lots of palm oil instead, which requires environmentally unfriendly pesticides and has endangered animals like the Orangutan and Pygmy Elephant. 

The good news is that if we start to care for our biodiversity, it will bounce back. We should be supporting the brilliant projects around the world looking at nature-based ways to achieve this.  

Global food systems