CONTRIBUTION OF BACKYARD GARDENS TO CONSERVATION OF BIOLOGICAL AND CULTURAL DIVERSITY AND TO HUMAN WELL-BEING
Backyard or home gardens characterized by structural complexity and multifunctionality, have been recognized as potential repositories of biological diversity. Whether in the countryside or in town, such gardens represent distinct microenvironments within a larger landscape, in which they are well integrated. It has been found that gardens provide different benefits to ecosystems and people. They offer refuge to wild flora and fauna and conserve high levels of inter- and intra-specific plant genetic diversity by preserving local or traditional (heritage) species. They become an important social and cultural space where knowledge related to plants and agricultural practices is kept and transmitted, at the same time providing recreational opportunities. In rich as well as in poor countries these gardens generate household income by producing food for subsistence or small-scale marketing. When managed non intensively, they become a valid example of sustainable land-use systems. Numerous projects have been initiated to provide schools, pensioners or marginal communities with their own home garden, improving livelihoods, providing educational opportunities, encouraging recycling of waste, protecting biodiversity and offering novel opportunities for urban planning. Further research into specific biological and social benefits of home gardens is needed and greater importance should be devoted to their promotion as multifunctional and sustainable solutions for the conservation of biodiversity in man-made environments.
Galluzzi, G. and Negri, V. (2010). CONTRIBUTION OF BACKYARD GARDENS TO CONSERVATION OF BIOLOGICAL AND CULTURAL DIVERSITY AND TO HUMAN WELL-BEING. Acta Hortic. 881, 179-183
agrobiodiversity, landraces, in situ conservation, cultural heritage, urban gardening