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Growing Biodiversity

created by

Jacob Shea

UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism

Oakland, CA, United States

Print Reporter/Digital Reporter/Staff Writer

In the modern era, industrial monoculture has taken a huge toll on global biodiversity. Large swaths of vital rainforest across the Amazon and Southeast Asia are cleared every year to plant staple crops like soy and palm oil. Clear-cutting has released an estimated 50 percent of the carbon from earth’s soil into the atmosphere over the last few centuries. Monoculture and industrial meat production are shrinking habitat, pushing ever more wild species towards extinction.

But increasingly, farmers and businesses are trying out a suite of new models with environmental and social benefits. Farms are incorporating polyculture and regenerative agriculture which can bolster ecosystems, improve biodiversity, and sequester carbon from the atmosphere. At Expo Amazonica in Lima, chefs and conservationists are working together to build markets for traditional Amazonian foods, saving the plants from extinction and creating livelihoods for farmers. In southern Appalachia,  botanists are teaming up with a medicinal plant company to improve native populations. And researchers in California are replacing pesticides with beneficial insects and biodegradable chemicals, while others are building soil health to fight climate change. 

This collection looks at business with social goals in the agriculture sector, ones rethinking how we can produce food in accordance with ecology. Often these solutions are very well-established and effective. But the question is generally whether they can prove scaleable and profitable.

Stories In This Collection (6)

"Carbon farming" good for the climate, farmers, and biodiversity

"Carbon farming" good for the climate, farmers,...
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A Mezcal Boom Spurs Creative Approaches to Dwindling Agave

A Mezcal Boom Spurs Creative Approaches to Dwin...
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Can Wild Foods Save the Amazon?

Can Wild Foods Save the Amazon?
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Humans are damaging the fragile Galapagos ecosystem. Maybe coffee can help save it.

Humans are damaging the fragile Galapagos ecosy...
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Looking to fungi, spiders and other natural insect killers for less toxic alternatives to synthetic pesticides

Looking to fungi, spiders and other natural ins...
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Seeds of Commerce: Saving Native Plants in the Heart of Appalachia

Seeds of Commerce: Saving Native Plants in the ...
view story
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Your information will be used to better support and enable your membership. We care about your privacy and, in accordance with GDPR regulations, request your consent before giving you access to the membership services described above. You will also receive customized communications tailored to your interests as described by your selections. We will never sell your information to 3rd parties. You can cancel your membership and change your communications preferences at any time, though this may prevent you from participating in the opportunities provided by this program. View our full privacy policy here. By clicking submit, you accept these terms.

Our issue area taxonomy was adapted from the PCS Taxonomy with definitions by the Foundation Center, which is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 4.0 International License.

Photos are licensed under Attribution Non Commercial 2.0 Generic Creative Commons license / Desaturated from original, and are credited to the following photographers:

Fondriest Environmental, David De Wit / Community Eye Health, Linda Steil / Herald Post, John Amis / UGA College of Ag & Environmental Sciences – OCCS, Andy B, Peter Garnhum, Thomas Hawk, 7ty9, Isriya Paireepairit, David Berger, UnLtd The Foundation For Social Entrepreneurs, Michael Dunne, Burak Kebapci, and Forrest Berkshire / U.S. Army Cadet Command public affairs

Photos are licensed under Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 2.0 Generic Creative Commons license, and are credited to the following photographers:

Ra'ed Qutena, 段 文慶, Fabio Campo, City Clock Magazine, Justin Norman, scarlatti2004, Gary Simmons, Kathryn McCallum, and Nearsoft Inc

Photos are licensed under CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication Creative Commons license / Desaturated from original, and are credited to the following photographers:

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Photos are licensed under Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) and are credited to the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Conference attendee listening to speaker, Jenifer Daniels / Colorstock getcolorstock.com.

Photo Credit: Kevork Djansezian via Getty Images

Photo Credit: Sonia Narang

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