Functional agrobiodiversity: approach, examples and applicability to banana cropping systems

P. Bàrberi
This paper highlights the key place of functional agrobiodiversity as a pillar of agroecology and hence as the best approach to (re)design truly sustainable cropping and farming systems. The duality of relationships between agriculture and biodiversity is highlighted and contextualized in an agroecological framework. Functional agrobiodiversity and its three components, i.e., functional identity, functional composition and functional diversity (sensu stricto), are illustrated and distinguished from the similar yet conceptually different concept of biofunctionality. A four-step approach to the study and implementation of functional agrobiodiversity, which is applicable to any cropping system anywhere, is then presented. Central to this approach is the selection of elements NDASH at the genetic, species and/or habitat levels of agrobiodiversity NDASH possessing traits able to deliver target agroecosystem services prioritized in a given context. Two research examples on (i) the design of cover-crop mixtures to increase weed suppression, and (ii) the interplay between local and landscape-scale factors on the delivery of biological pest control are presented, to show how functional agrobiodiversity can provide various agroecosystem services across different agrobiodiversity levels and scales. The applicability of functional agrobiodiversity to banana cropping systems is presented through a selection of recently published papers. Finally, opportunities for further deploying functional agrobiodiversity in banana cropping systems as a way to foster agroecological innovation are highlighted.
Bàrberi, P. (2018). Functional agrobiodiversity: approach, examples and applicability to banana cropping systems. Acta Hortic. 1196, 55-62
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2018.1196.6
agroecology, agroecosystem service, cover crop, functional trait, participatory research, transdisciplinarity

Acta Horticulturae