Nature's Matrix: Linking Agriculture, Conservation and Food Sovereignty

Nature's Matrix: Linking Agriculture, Conservation and Food Sovereignty

by Ivette Perfecto, John Vandermeer, Angus Wright
     
 

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ISBN-10: 1844077810

ISBN-13: 9781844077816

Pub. Date: 11/28/2009

Publisher: Taylor & Francis

Landscapes are frequently seen as fragment of natural habitat surrounded by a 'sea' of agriculture. But recent ecological theory shows that the nature of these fragments is not nearly as important for conservation as is the nature of the matrix of agriculture that surrounds them. Local extinctions from conservation fragments are inevitable and must be balanced by

Overview

Landscapes are frequently seen as fragment of natural habitat surrounded by a 'sea' of agriculture. But recent ecological theory shows that the nature of these fragments is not nearly as important for conservation as is the nature of the matrix of agriculture that surrounds them. Local extinctions from conservation fragments are inevitable and must be balanced by migrations if massive extinction is to be avoided. High migration rates only occur in what the authors refer to as "high-quality' matrices, which are created by alternative agro-ecological techniques, as opposed to the industrial monocultural model of agriculture. The authors argue that the only way to promote such high-quality matrices is to work with rural social movements. Their ideas are at odds with the major trends of some of the large conservation organizations that emphasize targeted land purchases of protected areas. They argue that recent advances in ecological research make such a general approach anachronistic and they call, rather, for solidarity with the small farmers around the world who are currently struggling to attain food sovereignty.

Nature's Matrix proposes a radically new approach to the conservation of biodiversity based on recent advances in the science of ecology plus political realities, particularly in the world's tropical regions.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781844077816
Publisher:
Taylor & Francis
Publication date:
11/28/2009
Edition description:
1
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.60(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

List of figures and boxes vii

Preface ix

Acknowledgements xi

List of abbreviations xiii

1 Matrix Matters: An Overview 1

The Birds of New York and the Coffee of Mesoamerica 1

The Argument 4

Towards a New Paradigm 9

Notes 10

2 The Ecological Argument 11

The Fundamental Patterns of Biodiversity 11

Why the Biodiversity Patterns Matter 21

The Ecological Background to Biodiversity Studies 22

Ecological Theory and Political Realities 31

Notes 33

3 The Agricultural Matrix 35

The Development of Agriculture 35

The Industrial Model 50

The Alternative Movement 59

Natural Systems Agriculture 71

Biodiversity as it Relates to Agro-ecology 73

Notes 75

4 The Broad Social Context for Understanding Biodiversity, Conservation and Agriculture 79

The Importance of the Deep Historical Context 79

Difficult Socio-political Issues in Practical Conservation Work 93

Sources of Systematic Bias in Conservation Practice 97

The Brazilian Amazon: A Case Study in Conservation, Livelihood and Social Movements 98

The Dependency Trap in Biodiversity Conservation 119

Grass Roots Social Movements 127

Notes 134

5 Coffee, Cacao and Food Crops: Case Studies of Agriculture and Biodiversity 137

Coffee and the Technical Side of Biodiversity 137

Cacao and Biodiversity: The Historical Development of a Biodiversity Landscape 157

The Production of Food and the Biodiversity Connection 172

Agricultural Potential in the Matrix 192

Notes 192

6 The New Paradigm 195

Recapping the Ecological Argument 195

Recapping the Agricultural Argument 198

Recapping the Social Movement Argument 206

Putting the Three Arguments Together 211

Notes213

References 215

Index 235

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