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Nature-based solutions in agriculture: Sustainable management and conservation of land, water and biodiversity











Miralles-Wilhelm, F. 2021. Nature-based solutions in agriculture  Sustainable management and conservation of land, water, and biodiversity. Virginia. FAO and The Nature Conservancy.




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    Book (series)
    Nature-Based Solutions for Agricultural Water Management and Food Security 2018
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    Accessibility to clean and sufficient water resources for agriculture is key in feeding the steadily increasing world population in a sustainable manner. Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) offer a promising contribution to enhance availability and quality of water for productive purposes and human consumption, while simultaneously striving to preserve the integrity and intrinsic value of the ecosystems. Implementing successful NBS for water management, however, is not an easy task since many ecosystems are already severely degraded, and exploited beyond their regenerative capacity. Furthermore, ecosystems are large and complex and the many stakeholders involved might have conflicting interests. Hence, implementation of NBS requires a structured and comprehensive approach that starts with the valuation of the services provided by the ecosystem. The whole set of use and non-use values, in monetary terms, provides a factual basis to guide the implementation of NBS, which ideally is done according to transdisciplinary principles, i.e. complemented with scientific and case-specific knowledge of the eco-system in an adaptive decision-making process that involves the relevant stakeholders. This discussion paper evaluated twenty-one NBS case studies using a non-representative sample, to learn from successful and failed experiences and to identify possible causalities among factors that characterize the implementation of NBS. The case studies give a minor role to valuation of ecosystem services, an area for which the literature is still developing guidance. Less successful water management projects tend to suffer from inadequate factual and scientific basis and uncoordinated or insufficient stakeholder involvement and lack of long term planning. Successful case studies point to satisfactory understanding of the functioning of ecosystems and importance of multi-stakeholder platforms, well-identified funding schemes, realistic monitoring and evaluation systems and endurance of its promoters.
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    Proceedings of the nature-based solutions webinar
    Hand in hand with nature: Understanding nature-based solutions in agriculture through GIAHS - 1 December 2020
    2021
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    The adverse effects of anthropogenic-induced climate change on the sustainability and resilience of agri-food systems at inter-regional scales calls for a substantial reorientation and sectoral transformation of the existing production and governance systems. In this context, FAO’s Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia convened a webinar on 1 December 2020 under the theme “Hand in Hand with Nature: Understanding Nature-Based Solutions in agriculture through GIAHS”. The main thrust of the webinar was to open a debate on the potentialities of nature-based solutions (NbS) to support agri-food systems in the Europe and Central Asia region. The dialogue also sought to develop a multi-stakeholder platform for upscaling NbS in agriculture based on real cases, tools and science-based shreds of evidence in ECA countries. The two-hour virtual session encompassed keynote presentations, interactive dialogues, and panel discussions covering the concepts of NbS and the Globally Important Agriculture Heritage Systems (GIAHS). NbS are measures taken to sustainably conserve, restore and manage ecosystems in order to meet societal challenges in an effective and adaptable manner while also benefiting life on Earth. GIAHS is a major FAO programme that aims at identifying, supporting and safeguarding remarkable agricultural, forestry and fisheries production systems, with their livelihoods, agrobiodiversity, landscapes, knowledge systems and cultures around the world. Through this first webinar, FAO provided a revision of nature-based solutions in agriculture with real and time-tested examples coming from GIAHS.
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    Increasing the benefits and sustainability of irrigation through integration of fisheries
    A guide for water planners, managers and engineers
    2020
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    There is increasing recognition of the need to bring about changes across the full spectrum of agricultural practices to ensure that, in future, food production systems are more diverse, sustainable and resilient. In this context, the objectives of irrigation need to be much more ambitious, shifting away from simply maximizing crop yields to maximizing net benefits across a range of uses of irrigation water, including ecosystems and nature-based solutions. One important way to achieve this is by better integrating fisheries into the planning, design, construction, operation and management of irrigation systems. Irrigation – a major contributor to the Green Revolution – has significantly improved agricultural production worldwide, with consequent benefits for food security, livelihoods and poverty alleviation. Today, irrigated agriculture represents about 21 percent of cultivated land, but contributes approximately 40% of the total global crop production. Many governments continue to invest in irrigation as a cornerstone of food security and rural development. Investments in irrigation often represent a pragmatic form of adaptation to changing climatic conditions. This guide focuses on how to sustainably optimize and broaden the range of benefits from irrigation development - not only economic but also social and environmental benefits . It emphasizes the opportunities that fisheries could provide to increase food production and economic returns, enhance livelihoods and public health outcomes, and maintain key ecosystem services. The guide considers possible trade-offs between irrigation and fisheries, and provides recommendations on how these could be minimized.

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