Through generations of innovation and experiment, smallholder farms (cultivated pieces of land smaller than 50 acres) have nurtured a rich diversity of both wild and domestic plants and animals. While most academic literature emphasizes the accelerated loss of biodiversity, this book describes how large numbers of smallholder farmers are conserving biodiversity in their farmland and surrounds. Based on the fieldwork of the United Nations University Project on People, Land Management, and Environmental Change (PLEC), the book observes how farmers use their knowledge and skills to manage diversity and to manage their resources conservatively and profitably.
The book highlights positive examples of resource management in Brazil, China, Ghana, Guinée, Jamaica, Kenya, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Thailand, Tanzania, Uganda, Britain, the United States, Japan, and Australia. These examples demonstrate how “agrodiversity” practices can be used to reverse loss of biodiversity, control land degradation, and improve small farmers’ livelihoods, and how they could be successfully applied to other situations.