By Joern Fischer
I have just submitted the following recommendation to F1000 (f1000.com):
Food sovereignty: an alternative paradigm for poverty reduction and biodiversity conservation in Latin America
Chappell M, Wittman H, Bacon C, Ferguson B … Morales H, Soto-Pinto L, Vandermeer J, Perfecto I. F1000Res
Improving biodiversity conservation and food security are two of the major challenges facing humanity in the 21st century. Biodiversity conservation and food security are, however, not independent of one another. There may be trade-offs between the two (e.g. with agricultural production encroaching into natural areas), but there may also be synergies (e.g. some traditional agricultural landscapes have maintained high levels of biodiversity over centuries). Trade-offs have been prominently discussed in discourses around yield-biodiversity relationships, whereas synergies have been discussed primarily in the agro-ecological literature.
In their ambitious review, Chappell and colleagues argue for an alternative paradigm to address the nexus of food and biodiversity, namely that of “food sovereignty”. Food sovereignty is a relatively new concept. It is overtly normative, in that it is concerned with the rights of peasant communities to produce, market and consume food bundles of their own choice, without undue outside influence. The review by Chappell and colleagues is detailed and demonstrates an in-depth knowledge of a vast amount of relevant literature. The authors successfully challenge a range of conventional ideas on how to best improve both biodiversity conservation and food security.
This is an extremely ambitious and bold paper. It is an important addition to current literature because it puts forward a truly alternative lens of analysis on the nexus of biodiversity conservation and food security.