Bridging the gap between traditional and regenerative agriculture with the agro-biodiversity index

July 24, 2023 | IRRI | Source 

Regenerative agriculture aims to enhance soil fertility, carbon content, and nutrient availability while integrating biodiversity into farming systems. To assess the impact of these practices on agrobiodiversity, the development of an Agro-Biodiversity Index (ABI) is essential. Agrobiodiversity includes cultivated and wild crops, livestock, and ecosystems that support agriculture through pollination, nutrient cycling, and pest control.

For evaluating the ABI in regenerative agriculture, indicators should assess agrobiodiversity diversity and conservation within these systems. These indicators could include crop diversity, the presence of native species, habitat complexity, and ecosystem services. Calculating the ABI involves:

  • Determining indicators.
  • Collecting data from surveys, agricultural reports, or other sources.
  • Normalizing data for comparability.
  • Assigning weights to indicators based on importance.
  • Calculating sub-indices for each indicator.
  • Aggregating sub-indices to obtain the overall ABI.

Customizing indicators should align with regenerative agriculture's core principles of biodiversity enhancement, soil health, and ecological resilience. Policy measures to encourage native pest and pollinator populations and genetic diversity conservation are crucial for ecological agriculture. Standardizing the ABI allows for landscape-scale assessment of agricultural systems, promoting sustainable practices.