Mauricio BellonPrincipal Scientist - Bioversity International
Mauricio R. Bellon is Principal Scientist in the Conservation and Availability of Programme at Bioversity International. Previously he was Programme Director, Diversity for Livelihoods Programme, at the same institution. He leads research on the reasons, incentives and dynamics of crop diversity in agricultural systems—both at the inter-specific and infra-specific levels—in the developing world; the use of participatory methods in the development of agricultural technologies relevant for the rural poor; and on the impacts of new agricultural technologies on farmers’ livelihoods.
He has worked for the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). He received his MS and PhD in ecology at the University of California, Davis and his undergraduate degree in agronomy from the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Mexico. He is a member of the Mexican Academy of Sciences.
Maintaining evolutionary services in agriculture key for resilient agricultural and food systems under global change
Evolutionary services refer to benefits (uses or services) that humanity derives from evolutionary processes. The crops that underpin our agricultural and food systems today are the results of these processes. These processes are based on crop biodiversity and are important because they maintain and generate genetic variation needed to maintain the capacity of crops to adapt to change. Increased homogenization and de-linking between seed systems and farmers’ practices, while providing short term benefits, threaten the provision of these services for the future and may increase society’s vulnerability to unpredictable change. A bio economic approach to agriculture and food systems needs to explicitly and systematically recognize these services and should aim at enhancing them. Smallholder farmers in hotspots of crop biodiversity are important suppliers of evolutionary services, the question is how to capture those services in a way that benefits them as well as highly industrialized agricultures.