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Case Study from the "Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)"for Nature-Based Solutions

Webinar 5: Nature-based solutions for agricultural water management and food security










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    Book (stand-alone)
    Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems
    A Legacy for the Future
    2011
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    For millennia communities of farmers, herders, fishers and forest people have developed complex, diverse, and locally adapted agricultural systems. These systems have been managed with time-tested, ingenious combinations of techniques and practices that have usually led to community food security, and the conservation of natural resources and biodiversity. Agricultural heritage systems can still be found throughout the world covering about 5 million hectares, which provide a vital combination of social, cultural, ecological and economical services to humankind. These “Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems-GIAHS” have resulted not only in outstanding landscapes of aesthetic beauty, maintenance of globally significant agricultural biodiversity, resilient ecosystems and a valuable cultural heritage. Above all, these systems sustainably provide multiple goods and services, food and livelihood security for millions of poor and small farmers. The existence of numerous GIAHS aro und the world testifies to the inventiveness and ingenuity of people in their use and management of finite resources, biodiversity, ecosystem dynamics, and ingenious use of physical attributes of the landscape, codified in traditional but evolving knowledge, practices and technologies. Whether recognized or not by the scientific community, these ancestral agricultural systems constitute the foundation for contemporary and future agricultural innovations and technologies. Their cultural, ecologic al and agricultural diversity is still evident in many parts of the world, maintained as unique systems of agriculture. Through a remarkable process of co-evolution of Humankind and Nature, GIAHS have emerged over centuries of cultural and biological interactions and synergies, representing the accumulated experiences of rural peoples.
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    Book (stand-alone)
    Hand in hand with nature – Nature-based Solutions for transformative agriculture
    A revision of Nature-based Solutions for the Europe and Central Asia region, supported by Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) examples
    2021
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    This report seeks to provide the countries in the Europe and Central Asia region with an overview and real examples of Nature-based Solutions (NbS) applied to agriculture. This is FAO’s first attempt to present NBS applied to agriculture especially pointed at the countries of this region, prompting the scaling-up of these actions as solutions to brought ashore the transition towards resilience and sustainable agriculture. Nature-based Solution is a recent concept that has been rapidly embraced and promoted by international organizations, government bodies, scientific research, and social organizations to face current societal challenges. In agriculture, these solutions are supported by ecosystems functioning to provide food security and livelihoods. By doing so, natural resources and biodiversity are managed in such a way that they maintain their functions providing ecosystem services to the agro-ecosystem. Europe and Central Asia is a highly diverse region in which agri-food systems have had to adapt to severe and context-specific conditions. Therefore, it is also a treasure trove of NbS in agriculture, ingeniously developed and maintained by its local communities for centuries. By providing time-tested successful NbS examples coming from Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS), this report encourages the recognition and identification of already existing NbS in the region as supportive actions that could be enhanced thanks to innovation and science. This way "Hand in Hand with nature: Nature-based solutions for transformative agriculture" supports ECA countries to manage natural resources sustainably while also coping with climate change and other threats to agri-food systems.
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    Brochure, flyer, fact-sheet
    Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS). Combining agricultural biodiversity, resilient ecosystems, traditional farming practices and cultural identity 2018
    For centuries, farmers, herders, fishers and foresters have developed diverse and locally adapted agricultural systems managed with time tested, ingenious techniques. These practices have resulted in a vital combination of social, cultural, ecological and economic services to humankind. “Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems” (GIAHS) are outstanding landscapes of aesthetic beauty that combine agricultural biodiversity, resilient ecosystems and a valuable cultural heritage. Located in specific sites around the world, they sustainably provide multiple goods and services, food and livelihood security for millions of small-scale farmers. Through a remarkable process of coevolution of humankind and nature, such sites have emerged over centuries of cultural and biological interactions and synergies, representing the accumulated experiences of rural people. Unfortunately, these agricultural systems are threatened by many factors including climate change and increased competition for natural resources. They are also dealing with migration due to low economic viability, which has resulted in traditional farming practices being abandoned and endemic species and breeds being lost. In recognition of these global threats to family farming and traditional agricultural systems, 16 years ago FAO launched the GIAHS Programme. Aiming to strike a balance between conservation, sustainable adaptation and socioeconomic development, the GIAHS Programme helps identify ways to mitigate the threats faced from farmers as well as enhance the benefits derived by these systems. Through multi-stakeholder support, this approach aims to: provide technical assistance; boost understanding of the value of keeping alive sustainable agricultural knowledge; and promote agricultural products, agro-tourism and other incentive mechanisms and market opportunities. There are currently 50 GIAHS-designated sites in 20 countries around the world, with potentially many more to follow.

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