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Event Animal biodiversity and family farming: facts from the field

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Period 05/11/2014
Host Be-Troplive
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Event URL
Contact person Leen Claes


  • Participation to the be-troplive symposium is free, but registration is compulsory.
  • Register now »
  • deadline for registration is Wednesday November 5th


The purpose of the symposium is to gather practical information on the title subject such as:

  • Practical and empirical illustration of the interaction between biodiversity and family farming.
  • Practical field methods that have proven to be effective in sustainably protect and/or enhance biodiversity or in enhancing the interaction with family farming. The term “interaction” is used in a rather large sense. It covers aspects illustrating how animal biodiversity contributes to family farming and how family farming, in turn, represents a home to animal biodiversity. Regarding the contribution of animal biodiversity to family farming, besides marketing and consumption of animal products, we would also like to include social, cultural and environmental aspects that are hard to quantify financially.

According to the core-definition proposed by FAO, “Family farming” includes all family-based agricultural activities, and it is linked to several areas of rural development. Family farming is a means of organizing agricultural, forestry, fisheries, pastoral and aquaculture production which is managed and operated by a family and predominantly reliant on family labour, including both women’s and men’s.

The term “biodiversity” is equally used in a broad sense and meaning. It may be disentangled as follows:

  • Breed diversity within species => local breeds, crossbreeding, rare breeds, breed adaptation to climate and environmental changes…
  • Genetic diversity within a breed => specialised purebreds (eg Holstein), problems linked to the small population of rare breeds, selective breeding programs based on local breeds…
  • The diversity of species within a region, or the same farm => complementarities of production, benefits to the farming system, better use of the ecosystem…
  • Species diversity in a country, region => harvesting capacity of different types of production, diversification of proteins brought to the market…

In particular, less commonly studied species such as camelids, insects, rodents, molluscs are fully included in the scope of the symposium.

Diversity may also refer to different scales of analysis: local, national, regional, or global. One particular question we would like to be addressed is the role or fate of animal biodiversity in the process of “scaling-up”, professionalization, or intensification of family farms.

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