Urbanization and agrobiodiversity: Leveraging a key nexus for sustainable development

Nov 19, 2021
Karl S. Zimmerer, Chris S. Duvall, Edward C. Jaenicke, Leia M. Minaker, Thomas Reardon, Karen C. Seto



Expanding urbanization affects food biodiversity and broader agrobiodiversity, which are essential nutrition and ecosystem resources for sustainable development but are threatened globally. The increasingly influential nexus of urbanization-agrobiodiversity interactions has not been systematically researched. Here we design an interdisciplinary perspective to identify and understand the bidirectional interactions of agrobiodiversity in four major linkages: urban and peri-urban land use, urban food supply chains, urban food access, and urban food retailing. Agrobiodiversity is evident to varying degrees amid urbanization globally, rather than the previously assumed blanket incompatibility or unspecified partial compatibility. A proposed conceptual framework is used to hypothesize how these linkages create configurations of combined conditions that support agrobiodiversity amid expanding urbanization. These key conditions contain leverage points of the urbanization-agrobiodiversity nexus for policies to address nutrition insecurity and vital environmental functions. We conclude that the urbanization-agrobiodiversity nexus is a crucial new focus of interdisciplinary research to strengthen sustainable development and food systems.

Read the full article in One Earth.

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