Farming For The Future - Diversifying Working Lands

By: Emily
Posted on:01/31/2019

Diversifying working lands -- including farmland, rangeland and forests -- may be key to preserving biodiversity and feeding the world’s growing population. These changes could extend the habitat of critters like bats, but also much larger creatures like bears, elk and other wildlife, outside the boundaries of protected areas, while creating more sustainable, and potentially more productive, working lands.

Claire Kremen is a conservation biologist at Berkley. Her work includes seeking mechanisms for preventing or reversing the loss of biodiversity, which is one of the greatest environmental challenges facing humanity in the 21st century. To do this, we need two quite different, yet complementary, conservation strategies. In the “protected area” strategy, the goal is to conserve as many species as efficiently possible within a network of reserves. While such protected areas may also provide services to humanity, the main motivation for their creation is the basic value of the biodiversity they contain. In the “ecosystem service” strategy, the goal is to identify and conserve the species that provide important benefits to humans, in the places where these services are most needed. In her research, Kremen works on both of these strategies, because she finds that their underlying value-systems are equally compelling, and that together they work in complementary fashion, often in different parts of the landscape, to reconcile human resource use with biodiversity conservation.