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)

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Management Diversity Field Type Demonstration Site Pesticide Usage Margalef Index 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    See Harold Brookfield et al., “Introduction,” in Harold Brookfield et al. (eds.), Agrodiversity: Learning from Farmers across the World (Tokyo: United Nations University Press, 2003).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    David Watts, The West Indies: Patterns of Development, Culture and Environmental Changes since 1492 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987).Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Amani Ishemo, Hugh Semple, and Elizabeth Thomas-Hope, “Population Mobility and the Survival of Small Farming in the Rio Grande Valley, Jamaica,” Geographical Journal 172, no. 4 (2006): 318–330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 5.
    Daniel Zarin, Huijun Guo, and Luis Enu-Kwesi, “Methods for the Assessment of Plant Species Diversity in Complex Agricultural Landscapes: Guidelines for Data Collection and Analysis from the PLEC Biodiversity Advisory Group” (PLEC-BAG) (Special Issue) PLEC News and Views 13 (1999): 3–16.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    Elizabeth Thomas-Hope, Balfour Spence, and Hugh Semple, ‘Biodiversity within the Small Farming Systems of the Rio Grande Watershed, Jamaica,’ in Proceedings of the Seminario Internacional Sobre Agridiversidad Campesina (Toluca: Mexico Autonomous University, 1999), 140–147Google Scholar
  6. Elizabeth Thomas-Hope, Hugh Semple, and Balfour Spence, “Household Structure, Agrodiversity and Agro-Biodiversity on Small Farms in the Rio Grande Valley Jamaica,” PLEC News and Views 15 (2000): 38–44Google Scholar
  7. Elizabeth Thomas-Hope and Balfour Spence, “Promoting Agro-Biodiversity under Difficulties: The Jamaica PLEC Experience,” PLEC News and Views 19 (2002): 17–24.Google Scholar
  8. 9.
    Hugh Smith, “Agrochemical Use by Small Farmers in the Rio Grande Valley, Jamaica” (Unpublished MSc dissertation, Environmental Management Unit, Department of Geography and Geology, University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica, 2003).Google Scholar
  9. 10.
    Balfour Spence and Elizabeth Thomas-Hope, “Agro-Biodiversity and the Economic Cost of Agrochemical Use among Smallholder Farmers in the Rio Grande Valley, Jamaica,” PLEC News and Views, n.s. 6 (2005): 3–7.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Jean Besson and Janet Momsen 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Balfour Spence
  • Elizabeth Thomas-Hope

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations