Environmentally Sustainable Agriculture

Supporting Environmentally Sustainable Land Use and Biodiversity

The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services notes the critical role of sustainable agriculture in feeding humanity while enhancing the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. According to the report, land use changes, related largely to agricultural expansion and unsustainable practices, have the largest negative impact on ecosystems people depend on for food, clean water and a stable climate.

Without involvement and leadership from the federal government — including adequate funding for programs, knowledge transfer, and metrics — biodiversity is bound to continue to decline on agricultural lands across Canada. This loss degrades the ecological goods and services (EGS) that have always supported farming production, and magnifies the vulnerability of agricultural lands to climate change. Reversing this trend would contribute to greater resilience in our agricultural production, and put farmers (and Canada) on better ground for an uncertain future.

See also:

CONTACTS
Martin Settle – msettle@weseedchange.org
Carolyn Callaghan – carolync@cwf-fcf.org
James Brennan – j_brennan@ducks.ca
Silke Nebel – snebel@birdscanada.org

Re-establish a Public Plant Breeding System

A sustainable food system needs high quality, locally adapted seeds that perform well in low-input systems with key traits of drought and flood tolerance, pest and disease resistance, productivity, and efficient nutrient use. Farmers’ ongoing, unrestricted access to these varieties must be guaranteed. Greater support is needed for publicly funded initiatives to conserve the diversity of genes, species, varieties, cultivars, and breeds. This requires public investment in robust farmer-led or participatory research programs and networks that will serve the public interest while enhancing biodiversity, climate mitigation and adaptation, rural economies and food security.

Recommended Investment:
$20 million over 5 years [AAFC]

CONTACT
Martin Settle – msettle@weseedchange.org

Build a Facility for the Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids, and Nematodes

Effective public policy needs evidence-based decision-making and this requires protection of scientific assets. The Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids and Nematodes is one of the five largest assemblages of its kind in the world. Established in 1886 by James Fletcher, the first official Dominion entomologist, it now contains more than 17 million specimens. Many specimens are the only known representatives of their species. The collection is actively used by entomologists in Canada and around the world to inform research on emerging crop pests and bio-control. This collection is critical to inform our understanding of change in the agricultural landscape under climate change conditions. Although one of the most important invertebrate collections in the world, it is currently stored in 1,500 metal cabinets, many scattered in the hallways of a building on the federal government’s Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa, and is in jeopardy of being lost due to improper storage conditions. With a modest one-time investment, this collection could be safely retained and used to inform scientific understanding and public policy in perpetuity.

Recommended Investment:
$45 million
[AAFC]

CONTACT
Carolyn Callaghan – carolync@cwf-fcf.org