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PROJECT TOPIC: THE STRATEGIES FOR INVOLVING RURAL FARMERS IN AGRICULTURAL BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION .

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CHAPTER ONE

INTROUCTION

The conservation of biodiversity is one aspect of environment, which has recently receivedglobal attention. Biodiversity refers to the variety and variability among living organisms andthe ecological complexes in which they occur (Board on Science and Technology forInternational Development (BOSTID), 2002. It is a term used to describe the degree ofnature’s variety including both the number and frequency of ecosystems, species or genes ina given assemblage. It is essentially synonymous with life on the earth. It is usuallyJournal of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences Volume 2, December 2010© 2010 Cenresin Publicationswww.cenresin.org103considered at three different levels: genetic diversity, specie diversity and ecosystemdiversity. Genetic diversity is the sum total of genetic characteristics of individual plants,animals and other living organisms inhabiting the earth. Such characteristics may includerapid growth, high yields, diseases and pests resistance, and environmental adaptation.Specie diversity refers to the variety of living organisms on earth, while ecosystem diversityrefers to the variety of habitats, biotic communities and ecological processes in the biosphereas well as the tremendous diversity within ecosystems in terms of habitat differences and thevariety of ecological processes.The concept of agricultural biodiversity or agrobiodiversity as it is sometimes referred couldbe identified within a macro concept of biodiversity. Agricultural biodiversity is restricted toplants and animals used in commerce or having potential use (Srivastava, Smith and Ferno,2001). It is the diversity of genetic resources (varieties, breeds, species, cultivated, reared orwild) used directly for food and agriculture; the diversity of species that support production(soil biota, pollinators, predators, etc.) and those in the wider environment that supportagroecosystems (agricultural, pastoral. forest and aquatic), as well as the diversity ofagroecosystems themselves (Food and Agriculture Organization, 2008) .Agroecosystems arethose ecosystems that are used for agriculture, and comprise polycultures, monocultures andmixed systems including crop-livestock systems (rice-fish), agroforestry agrosilvo pastoralsystems, aquaculture as well as rangelands, pastures and fallow lands (Pimbert, 2009).Agricultural biodiversity is of immense benefit to humanity. Man depends on various livestockand crop species for food, fuel, fibre, medicine, drugs and raw materials for a host ofmanufacturing technologies and purposes. The productivity of agricultural system is as aresult of a continuous alteration of once wild plant and animal germplasms.


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