The world relies on very few crop and animal species for agriculture and to supply its food needs. In recent decades, there has been increased appreciation of the risk this implies for food security and quality, especially in times of environmental change. As a result, agricultural biodiversity has moved to the top of research and policy agendas. 

This Handbook presents a comprehensive overview of our current knowledge of agricultural biodiversity in a series of specially commissioned chapters. It draws on multiple disciplines including plant and animal genetics, ecology, crop and animal science, food studies and nutrition, as well as social science subjects which explore the socio-economic, cultural, institutional, legal and policy aspects of agricultural biodiversity. It focuses not only on the core requirements to deliver a sustainable agriculture and food supply, but also highlights the additional ecosystem services provided by a diverse and resilient agricultural landscape and farming practices. The book provides an indispensable reference textbook for a wide range of courses in agriculture, ecology, biodiversity conservation and environmental studies.

chapter |12 pages


Agricultural biodiversity, the key to sustainable food systems in the 21st century

part 1|132 pages

Biological resources for agricultural biodiversity

chapter 1|15 pages

Plant Genetic Resources

part 2|108 pages

The origins and history of agricultural biodiversity

chapter 9|21 pages

Genetic Aspects of Crop Domestication

chapter 13|14 pages


Using functional biodiversity to design productive and resilient polycultural systems

part 3|90 pages

The value of agricultural biodiversity

chapter 18|13 pages

Neglected No More

Leveraging underutilized crops to address global challenges

part 4|74 pages

Agricultural biodiversity

chapter 21|19 pages

Harvesting Common Ground

Maximizing the co-benefits of agrobiodiversity and human health

chapter 24|13 pages

Holding on to Agrobiodiversity

Human nutrition and health of Indigenous Peoples

part 5|130 pages

The drivers of agricultural biodiversity

chapter 28|22 pages

‘Stewardship’ or ‘Ownership’

How to realize farmers’ rights?

chapter 34|12 pages

Seed Systems

Managing, using and creating crop genetic resources

part 6|133 pages

Safeguarding agricultural biodiversity

chapter 37|12 pages

Seeds to Keep and Seeds to Share

The multiple roles of community seed banks

chapter 38|12 pages

‘Because it is Ours’

Farmers’ knowledge, innovation and identity in the making of agricultural biodiversity

chapter 43|18 pages

Biodiversity is Given Life by Small-Scale Food Providers

Defending agricultural biodiversity and ecological food provision in the framework of food sovereignty