Natural-Habitats
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Enhancing Biodiversity in Agriculture

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01 May 2015

environment, farmers, social reponsibility

Biological diversity, or biodiversity for short, comprises of the variety of life at all levels of organization, from genetic diversity within a species to variety within entire regions or ecosystems. Preserving biodiversity is important for multiple reasons, not least of which are the numerous essential services to humankind. Therefore, at Natural Habitats, we recognize conserving biological diversity as one of the key values of our company. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) highlights three major benefits that biodiversity brings to agriculture.

First, biodiversity provides agricultural ecosystems with opportunities to use available resources more efficiently. A rapidly growing global human population, and, as a consequence, growing demand for food bring about new challenges for agriculture. The diversity of the crop gene pool has a critical role to play in enhancing and sustaining production levels. It lowers the chances of crop failure in the midst of climate change, protects from the spread of plant diseases and attacks by plant pests, and can lead to greater yields.

Second, agro-biodiversity ensures the adaptability of ecosystems to changing conditions of the environment. Biologically diverse agro-ecosystems are more resilient to natural and human-made disturbances. When many different species perform similar functions in the ecosystem, there is less chance that the functions will be lost. Unfortunately, the evolution of agriculture from traditional to modern has eroded biodiversity in many areas, such as plant genetic resources, livestock, insects and soil organisms. This erosion has put in jeopardy the ecosystem services and their ability to adapt.

Finally, farmers around the world rely on services that are provided by ecosystems to produce food and raw materials for goods, such as cotton for clothing or wood for shelter. The health of ecosystems greatly depends on biodiversity. It offers them with pollination, fertility and nutrient enhancement, insect and disease management, and water retention. Research shows that richer biodiversity creates more resilient and sustainable ecosystems.

Biodiversity is essential for agriculture. It is the origin of all species of crops and domesticated livestock and the variety within them. Biodiversity is also the basis of ecosystem services crucial for support of human well-being. However, while agriculture plays a significant role in preservation and conservation of biodiversity, it is also responsible for considerable damage to it, primarily through extension of cropland and pasture worldwide. Fortunately, the negative externalities of modern agricultural production can be overcome with organic farming practices, sustainable consumption of resources, good landscape‐level planning and corrections in agricultural policies. Changes are necessary at all levels: from major policy reforms by governments and institutions to application of new practices at the local level by communities and farmers.

 

Blog & News

Palm Oil Is Everywhere

Palm oil (Elaeis guineensis) originates from West Africa. Once planted, after 3-4 years’ palm oil trees start to producing its first fruits and will continue all year-round for up to 30 years. Oil Palm is high yielding; it produces more oil per hectare than any other major oil seed crop.

Did you know that half of your items in your house contain palm oil?
Palm oil is also the most widely consumed vegetable oil on the planet

farmers, social reponsibility, environment, organic

Why Farm Organically?

With a growing population, nearly 10 billion people by 2050, and an increasing demand for food, agriculture is placed under extreme pressure. We heavily rely on services that the industry provides to us, such as food, clothes, wood, and many others. Unfortunately, with biodiversity losses and deforestation practices that accompany modern agriculture, these services are currently at risk. Therefore, we must take actions to sustain biodiversity, soils and forests for the generations to come

social reponsibility, environment, farmers, organic

An Important Role of Intercropping in Modern Agriculture

Population of our planet is constantly growing. The threat of insufficient food supply in the near future encourages intensification of the search for more productive agricultural technics. At Natural Habitats, we believe that well-planned intercropping is one of the most effective and sustainable ways to increase agricultural productivity.

Intercropping, as well as other forms of multiple cropping, is an ancient method of intensive agriculture that involves cultivation of two or more crops simultaneously on the same field

environment, farmers

Mainstream Sustainable Palm Oil Production in Ecuador

Deforestation caused by many palm-oil producers, harming wildlife habitats, has been a widespread concern around the world. However, more and more palm oil is now being sourced sustainably with a help of the certification initiative promoted by a non-profit association Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) that aims to transform markets to make sustainable palm oil the norm. Natural Habitats as 100% organic and sustainable producer was certified with RSPO standard in 2013.

In May 2013, Natural Habitats in Ecuador (Exportsustent) together with Solidaridad and National Association of Oil Palm Growers (ANCUPA) developed a pioneering project Mainstream Sustainable Palm Oil Production in Ecuador

farmers, environment, partnership, social reponsibility

An Ongoing Education of Farmers

Natural Habitats believes in doing business in harmony with the environment. This is the reason for us to continuously encourage smallholder farmers in Ecuador and Sierra Leone into getting involved in organic and sustainable production of palm oil.

On a regular basis, we educate and train our smallholder farmers in nature preservation and organic farming practices for not only their own good but for the betterment of the society

farmers, partnership, social reponsibility

Fair Trade Explained

Today, we are surrounded by numerous certifications on the products we buy at supermarkets. It is getting more and more confusing to figure out what exactly most of them stand for. Some labels are self-explanatory and some are not. Fair for Life Social and FairTrade certification belongs to the second category. Therefore, most of the consumers do not even realize that while they purchase Fair for Life or FairTrade certified products they contribute to the empowerment of poor around the world

farmers, social reponsibility, environment

Why Healthy Palm Oil is not an Oxymoron

When people hear about palm oil the first thing that usually comes to their mind is heart disease. The logic is pretty simple: fifty per cent of the oil consists of saturated fat that supposed to be bad for the heart, therefore, palm oil causes heart disease. However, numerous studies continue to confirm that palm oil does not promote heart problems and, if anything, it protects against them

cooking, health

Sustaining Food Security

Pressure on the world’s food supply is constantly increasing due to population growth, changing diets and government policies promoting biofuels. Current estimates suggest that by 2050 the food demand will be twice what it was in 2005. Biotech companies have strongly promoted the idea that genetically engineered (GE) crops are the key to “feeding the world”. According to Environmental Working Group , recent studies show that this promise has fallen flat

environment, farmers, social reponsibility