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Faunal biodiversity in rice-dominated wetlands - an essential component of sustainable rice production

Propper, C. R., Singleton, G. R., Sedlock, J. L., Smedley, R. E., Frith, O. B., Shuman-Goodier, M. E., Lorica, R. P., Grajal-Puche, A., Horgan, F. G., Prescott, C. V. and Stuart, A. M. (2023) Faunal biodiversity in rice-dominated wetlands - an essential component of sustainable rice production. In: Connor, M., Gummert, M. and Singleton, G. R. (eds.) Closing Rice Yield Gaps in Asia. Springer, Switzerland, pp. 93-120. ISBN 9783031379468

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/978-3-031-37947-5


Rice agriculture provides wetlands and complex habitats supporting biodiversity. Wetlands associated with rice agriculture since the 1960s have increased by 32% and now form nearly 12% of wetlands globally at a time when vast areas of natural wetlands are being lost. In this chapter, we set our sights beyond Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 that focuses on ending hunger and achieving food security via the promotion of sustainable agriculture. Often, agricultural scientists are so motivated to achieve food security that they pay insufficient attention to the need to have a healthy and dynamic agroecosystem that promotes floral and faunal biodiversity, which may also provide ecosystem services including support for food security of smallholder families. Because of their aquatic, semi-aquatic, and terrestrial ecological phases, rice fields represent a changing mosaic of ecological niches and have the potential to sustain a broad diversity of wildlife. In addition, a multitude of studies have investigated how modifications to rice cultivation have the potential to support a greater diversity of species across biological scales while often maintaining or increasing yield. SDG 15 emphasizes the need to promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems and halt biodiversity loss. Given the high losses in global biodiversity, especially in tropical zones where most of the world’s rice is grown, we set our sights on achieving both SDGs 2 and 15. We provide case studies on amphibians, bats, birds, and rodents living in and around irrigated rice-cropping systems. We report on transdisciplinary studies supported by CORIGAP that include agronomic, sociological, ecological, biochemical, environmental physiological, and genomic studies. Most of these studies identify potential positive ecosystem services provided by wildlife, which can lead to more sustainable and healthier rice production landscapes. We conclude that our current management of rice landscapes contributes to the biodiversity crisis. Rice production often overuses pesticides and fertilizers and applies unsustainable intensification practices and land modifications, which result in biodiversity loss. Finding a balance, where human population requirements for food are met without degrading the natural environment, is critical to the health of smallholder agricultural communities. We propose that future research and development projects need to: build capacity of countries to scale-up use of proven practices that reduce rice farming’s ecological footprint and conserve biodiversity, increase investment in biodiversity research in rice production landscapes, promote Green “Rice Value Chains” and “Agri-input Markets,” and monitor and evaluate the ecological benefits to biodiversity of broad scale promotion of sustainable rice production. Keywords Faunal biodiversity - Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) - Ecological footprint -Sustainable rice production.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
ID Code:113220
Additional Information:This book is available to read Open Access on the publisher website:

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