Agrobiodiversity as an Environmental Management Tool in Small-Scale Farming Landscapes: Implications for Agrochemical Use

  • Balfour Spence
  • Elizabeth Thomas-Hope
Part of the Studies of the Americas book series (STAM)


For generations, small-scale farmers throughout the developing world have selectively nurtured a wide variety of wild and domesticated plant and animal species and in so doing, accumulated extensive knowledge about local biodiversity.1 The process of innovation, experimentation, and knowledge sharing that has fostered the biodiversity selections of small farmers is still in vogue in spite of the global trend toward dependence on a few selected and highly experimental species of crops to increase agricultural production and enhance global food security. This selective nurturing of an array of species, especially plants, promotes enhanced levels of species diversity and related management diversity within small-scale farming systems and is commonly referred to as agrobiodiversity. Strictly speaking, agrobiodiversity (agricultural biodiversity) includes all aspects of biological diversity that have a role to play in the development of agriculture and the provision of food. In that regard, agrobiodiversity refers to the variety and variability of plants, animals, and microorganisms at genetic, species, and ecosystem levels that are critical to the sustainable functioning of the structures and processes of agroecosystems. In the Caribbean context, the diversity of species on small farms has been the mainstay of sustainability in domestic food security as, in spite of sustained reduction in output, small farms have remained the pillars of domestic food production in the Caribbean.


Management Diversity Field Type Demonstration Site Pesticide Usage Margalef Index 
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Copyright information

© Jean Besson and Janet Momsen 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Balfour Spence
  • Elizabeth Thomas-Hope

There are no affiliations available

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