SPEAKER: Lucas Garibaldi (Universidad Nacional de Río Negro, Argentina)
TITLE: Multifunctional landscapes as a strategy to counteract biodiversity loss, climate change, and land degradation
DATE: Monday, March 20, 12 p.m.
VENUE: IBioBA´s Seminar room. Godoy Cruz 2390, C1425FQD, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The expansion of homogeneous landscapes over the past decades has been a major driver of biodiversity loss, climate change, and land degradation. There is an urgent need for a transition to multifunctional landscapes, providing abundant and nutritious food but also several other contributions essential for human life. Yet, it is unclear how to implement this process, especially in large-scale farming without economic subsidies. I will discuss guidelines for designing multifunctional landscapes based on science and our own farming experience. Transition to multifunctional landscapes is based on increasing biodiversity at all spatial and temporal scales while reducing the use of external inputs. In this process, practitioners manage crop fields, natural habitats, and edges. I will suggest an iterative process to design multifunctional landscapes. First, areas with low opportunity cost (e.g. low crop yield potential) or high appreciation of nature (e.g. housing areas) are identified at a fine scale resolution, and classified into “wide” areas or “narrow” corridors (i.e., edges <100m wide). Areas covered by native vegetation should also be designated as wide areas. Then, native-habitat restoration (at least 20% of farmland) is assigned to wide areas and biological corridors to edges (designed to be >50m wide). Field size and configuration are re-designed to increase the efficiency of agricultural practices and edge density (e.g. smaller fields with strip cropping following environmental units instead of large, squared monocultures). Finally, such design is adjusted over time in interaction with stakeholders according to cost-benefit analyses and a process of monitoring, evaluation and learning. Overall, I will describe an iterative process by which large-scale farming can support biodiversity and leverage nature’s contributions to people while providing more nutritious food and stabilizing crop yields and profits. Multifunctional landscapes will be critical in moving the world to net-zero emissions by 2050.