Global Agrobiodiversity Hotspots and Challenges for Sustainable Development

Saturday, 15 February 2014
Grand Ballroom A (Hyatt Regency Chicago)
Karl Zimmerer , Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA
This paper presents a suite of new findings obtained through the geographic analysis of global-scale agrobiodiversity and its integration into models of sustainability and sustainable development requiring interdisciplinary scientific frameworks, policy, and management. An original approach and analytic framework are also presented. Conceptually the paper provides an integrated framework for global agrobiodiversity analysis through three groups of related subfields: (i) biogeography, ecology, and human-cultural ecology; (ii) global and land change sciences; (iii) conservation, development studies with emphasis on political ecology, and sustainability science The paper briefly reviews the major geographic treatments of global agrobiodiversity and agrobiodiversity-change beginning with Vavilov and including subsequent genetic-resource and crop evolutionary ecological schema, with emphasis on current global-scale models, GAP analysis, multiple hotspot frameworks, and dispersal-generated, spatial-network estimations. It then introduces and discusses the methodological design and implementation of an innovative approach utilizing expert knowledge systems, computer-interface and GIScience-based mapping, and geographic modeling. The following section discusses new findings and geospatial estimates of the multi-crop, region- and landscape-scale identification of agrobiodiversity hotspots. This new approach is used to describe and characterize global agrobiodiversity hotspots through the fusion of data sources followed by modeling of geospatial parameters in conjunction with socioeconomic attributes and seed-network capacities. Multiple case study examples will be discussed, as well as inputs into global-scale models. The results will be used to outline and assess challenges and specific opportunities for sustainability policy and management enhancing the social-ecological resilience of agriculture and lessening vulnerabilities. Implications for the potential of sustainable intensification will also be discussed.