A story carried by the Huffington Post yesterday suggested that the pace of biodiversity loss was increasing as a result of economic forces and global climate change, threatening the future of farming and ranching.
It’s widely acknowledged that our dietary preferences are becoming increasingly narrow. Of the estimated 30,000 edible plants, just 30 account for 95 percent of human consumption, and just three (rice, wheat, and maize) account for 60 percent of human calories and protein derived from plants. At the same time, many traditional breeds of cows, sheep, and goats have fallen out of favor as new, higher yielding breeds are developed. But in the process, the genetic diversity of the species declines, making future generations more susceptible to disease.
Similarly, we know that the genetic diversity of agriculture has been in sharp decline over the past century. Indeed, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization, some 75…
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