Journal of Ecology and Rural Environment ›› 2022, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (10): 1249-1257.doi: 10.19741/j.issn.1673-4831.2022.0621

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The Transition of the Food System for A Nature-positive World: A GIAHS-based Solution

HE Si-yuan1, JIAO Wen-jun1, MIN Qing-wen1,2   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2022-06-21 Online:2022-10-25 Published:2022-10-22

Abstract: In 2020, the international community proposed the Nature-Positive Global Goal for Nature. Nature-positive means halting and reversing nature loss by 2030, measured from a baseline of 2020. The transition of the current agricultural and food system to a nature-positive food system is critical to halt and reverse the nature loss. This approach aims at curbing the land productivity degradation, resource depletion, and biodiversity loss caused by the food production system, thus maintaining the sustainability of the food system. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations launched the Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) in 2002. After 20 years of research and conservation practice, we have gained an increasing understanding of the formation and evolution of the agricultural heritage systems, their ecological and social sustainability, and multiple functions and values. GIAHS is proved possible to provide new solutions to the global crisis including climate change, biodiversity loss, environmental pollution, and the degradation of agricultural ecological functions. However, their potential as nature-based solutions is yet to be fully recognised, and the systematic approaches to a nature-positive food system and sustainable development goals are yet to establish. Therefore, based on the literature review, we analysed the feasibility of GIAHS to facilitate the revolutionary change of the global agriculture production and food system from the perspective of nature-positive. We also proposed urgent research and practical requirements based on the demand and challenges of transitioning the food system. We found that the holistic view of GIAHS as a living system is a manifestation of the conceptual shift in the nature-positive global goals. The functions and the mechanism of GIAHS can facilitate the shift to agroecology for a sustainable food system. They are capable to provide the three routes as nature-based solutions: 1) to protect the natural system from degrading and land use change; 2) to sustainably manage the production system to provide ecosystem services and maintain landscape resilience, and 3) to restore certain productivity of degraded ecosystems and improve their functions and services. We should also strengthen research and improve governance to give full play to the agricultural heritage system in achieving a nature-positive food system.

Key words: nature-positive, agricultural heritage system, biodiversity, nature-positive food system, sustainable development goals

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