Posted: 29 October 2003

Author: Jeffrey A. McNeely and Sara J. Scherr
Island Press, Washington DC, 2002, $27.50 pb

Although food-production systems for the world's rural poor typically have had devastating effects on the planet's wealth of genes, species, and ecosystems, that need not be the case in the future, argue two of the world's leading experts on conservation and development.

Ecoagriculture shows how agricultural landscapes can be designed more creatively to take the needs of human populations into account while also protecting, or even enhancing, biodiversity.

The authors present a thorough overview of the innovative concept of "ecoagriculture" - the management of landscapes for both the production of food and the conservation of wild biodiversity.

While focusing on tropical regions of the developing world - where increased agricultural productivity is most vital for food security, poverty reduction, and sustainable development, and where so much of the world's wild biodiversity is threatened - it also draws on lessons learned in developed countries. Dozens of examples from around the world present proven strategies for small-scale, low-income farmers involved in commercial production.

Ecoagriculture explores new approaches to agricultural production that complement natural environments, enhance ecosystem function, and improve rural livelihoods. It features a wealth of real-world case studies that demonstrate the applicability of the ideas discussed and how the principles can be applied. It is an important new work for policy-makers, students, researchers, and anyone concerned with conserving biodiversity while sustaining human populations.