GARIBALDI Lucas Alejandro
Pollination and biological control research: are we neglecting two billion smallholders
STEWARD, P. R.; SHACKELFORD, G.; CARVALHEIRO, L. G.; BENTON, T. G.; GARIBALDI, L. A.; SAIT, S. M.
Agriculture & Food Security
Año: 2014 vol. 3 p. 1 - 13
Food insecurity is a major world problem, with ca. 870 million people in the world being chronically undernourished. Most of these people live in tropical, developing regions and rely on smallholder farming for food security. Solving the problem of food insecurity is thought to depend, in part, on managing ecosystem services, such as the pollination of crops and the biological control of crop pests, to enhance or maintain food production. Our knowledge regarding regulating ecosystem services in smallholder-farmed (or dualistic) landscapes is limited and whilst pollination has been the focus of considerable research, the provision of natural enemy services, important for every crop worldwide, has been relatively neglected. In order to assess whether ecosystem-service research adequately represents smallholder-farmed landscapes, whilst also considering climatic region and national economic status, we examined the constituent studies of recent quantitative reviews relevant to biological control and pollination. No regulating ecosystem service meta-analysis, to our knowledge, has focussed on smallholder agriculture despite its importance to billions of peoples? local food security. We found that whilst smallholdings contributed 16% of global farmland area and 83% of the global agricultural population (estimated using Food and Agriculture Organisation?s (FAO?s) World Census of Agriculture 2000) only 22 of 190 studies (12%) overall, came from smallholder-farmed landscapes. These smallholder studies mostly concerned coffee production (16 studies). Individual reviews of biological control were significantly and strongly biased towards data from large-scale farming in temperate regions. In contrast, pollination reviews included more smallholder studies and were more balanced for climate regions. The high diversity ofsmallholder-farmed landscapes implies that more research will be needed to understand them compared to large-scale landscapes, but we found far more research from the latter. We highlight that these skews in research effort have implications for sustainable intensification and the food security of billions in the developing world. In particular, we urge for balance in future ecosystem-services research and synthesis by greater consideration of a diverse range of smallholder-farmed landscapes in Africa and continental Asia.