In addition to food production, modern agriculture must provide ecosystem services such as water quality, biodiversity, carbon sequestration, and nutrient cycling. Agroforestry provides ecosystem services by managing trees together with annual crops or pasture lands. A paradigm shift toward agroforestry comes with opportunities for technology, diversification, and employment in agriculture.
There has been a historic lack of incentive to protect the boreal forests, and as such little attention has been given to their preservation. Canadian advocates have called to halt clear-cutting of primary forests, and give the indigenous communities the power to manage the forests directly. The potential for national or even international regulation exists, but only if the importance of the boreal forests is recognised and incentives altered accordingly.
Marine ecosystems and habitats are at the precipice of severe loss of life as we know it. Human intervention has enabled irreversible damage, which comes back to our standards of living. Indigenous communities are at the forefront of the consequences, and need safeguarding now more than ever.
The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework is the first set of biodiversity targets in over a decade, setting ambitious goals for the 2020s. Particular milestones are the commitment to protecting 30% of all land areas and ocean territories as well as focusing on consulting, valuing, and protecting indigenous stewards. Criticism includes its non-binding legal nature, previous failures to commit, and a Western approach to conservation which might threaten indigenous autonomy.
CBD COP15 was highly anticipated by those within the conservation sector and the emerging nature-based solutions industry. On the agenda were several discussions on pollinator protection, agricultural practices, forestry, and marine spaces — but the biggest item was an ambitious plan to protect 30% of the world’s natural areas by 2030.
Tropical rainforests are important carbon sinks, capturing and storing extensive amounts of carbon. But they are also carbon sources, releasing almost as much carbon through animal and plant respiration. Climate change and deforestation may lead to increased CO2 emissions from tropical rainforests, therefore threatening this balance.
The boreal forests are in danger of flipping from a carbon sink to a carbon source in the coming decades. Threats to the boreal forests include increasing global temperatures, more wildfires, and the northward migration of invasive species of insects. These threats have interlocking feedbacks to each other, whereby the increasing influence of one worsens the other.
The boreal forests (also known as the Taiga) experience some of the harshest conditions of any forest, and yet support robust ecosystems capable of significant biological activity.The boreal forests are excellent “carbon sinks”, not because of the extensive forests but because of the frozen and waterlogged soils that cover the biome.Unfortunately, rising temperatures due to climate change is weakening the boreal forests’ ability to store carbon.
Right on the heels of the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP27) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, the UN Convention on Biodiversity (CBD COP15) took place in Montreal, Canada between December 7th and 19th.
In 2015, a seminal Lancet report suggested that “anthropogenic climate change threatens to undermine the past 50 years of gains in public health” In the summer of 2016, a 12-year-old boy died after being exposed to anthrax spores from a frozen reindeer carcass that had been uncovered by thawing permafrost The climate crisis, habitat destruction, and our globalised food production systems all increase uncertainty when considering the future of disease. How we prepare for the changing disease landscape will therefore be decided by how we manage these causes.