Agricultural biodiversity is a subset of biodiversity and it is a measure of the change in the earth system. Agricultural biodiversity is the measure of variability or change in our food systems. It comprises of variability in plants and animals, genetic breeding, climate changes and lots more. Human beings all rely on biodiversity to live. There is a diverse range of agricultural biodiversity which includes the animal resources, which comprises of hunting wild animals for human consumption, domesticating animals, aquatic biodiversity. The plant resources as well which comprises of pastures for animal consumption, trees and crops to serve as food for humans. The microbiological resource comprising of viruses, fungal and bacteria actions, nematodal actions etc.
Agricultural biodiversity helps to sustain food and agricultural systems. Biodiversity is very important in agriculture because the global population keeps increasing thereby leading to increasing demand for food. There is also an increase in the diversity of consumption patterns as people in different parts of the world demand for different agricultural materials at the same time making it difficult to say per time that it is just one category of food e.g grains that are highly demanded globally. As a means of sustainability, agricultural biodiversity does not only provide food, it also provides other necessary products such as raw materials for making cotton and fabrics that humans use for clothing. It facilitates the availability of woods for shelter, helps in soil and water conservation, in the maintenance of soil fertility to aid easy growth of plants, provision of plants which are used for medicines as well as pollination of plants which is the most important phase in growing foods.
Sustaining biodiversity in agriculture is necessary for genetic applications that bring about improved varieties of plants which are better adaptable to extreme weather conditions, possess stronger survival mechanism over weeds as well as resistant to pests and diseases. If genes of plants, animals and crops are modified, they would produce better varieties of organisms and this would lead to an expansion in the agricultural ecosystems thereby contributing to more food production and sustainability. As the world population increases, technology improves thereby, calling for further improvements in the food production systems.
Furthermore, agricultural biodiversity helps to conserve the environment for future generations. Due to recent advancements, biodiversity has fostered the discovery of modification techniques for resources such as land that have been poorly managed in older times. Over the years, we have learnt some of the negative impacts of anthropogenic practices such as bush burning, overconsumption as well as continuous cultivation. Bush burning as a weed control measure has resulted to fire outbreaks which destroy farmlands. Overconsumption results in the consumption of products, depletion seed materials and extinction of animals. However, proper understanding and application of biodiversity helps us to curtail these practices while improving upon positively impactful ones.
For basic illustration of how biodiversity has played in our world, let us consider the interaction between man and plants. Man can not live without the existence of plants and this is because many make use of oxygen that plants discharge as a waste product. Also, plants can not do without insects because they pollinate their flowers for fertilization to bring forth fruits. The environment can not do without microbiological and fungal activities because, these activities aid in the decay of microorganisms that replenish the soil with nutrient which in turn facilitate plant growth. Biodiversity ensures the utilization and conservation of resources while preventing wastage.
Agricultural biodiversity facilitates the achievement of food security and improves our livelihood. It enhances better nutrition and improved life through the conservation of natural resources.