Thomas-Hope, Elizabeth M.; Semple, Hugh M.; Spence, Balfour A.
Author Affiliation, Ana.
Department of Geography and Geology
Biodiversity within the agricultural diversity of small farming in the Rio Grande watershed, Jamaica
Place of Publication
Autonomous University of Mexico
Date of Publication
Series Editor Role
Series Volume Identification
Series Issue Identification
Small farming in Jamaica is of major significance in the context of biodiversity. While large farms traditionally have been oriented towards the export market and mono-cropping, the small farms have been based on mixed cropping for the domestic market and household subsistence. Any changes in the market or other factors which encourage the concentration on a reduced number of crops have also resulted in the reduction of biological diversity within the agricultural system. The authors state that the issue of biodiversity loss has become important primarily because of the rapid growth in human populations. The result is an increased demand for products, resulting in a reduction in the variety of ecosystems, the species they contain and the genetic variations that are of prime importance in maintaining the sustainability of food production systems. It is pointed out that genetic variation is also declining among some food crops because monoculture increasingly being practiced by small-scale farmers producing for the export markets where the demand is also for a limited number of specialized varieties. The authors argue that as the specialized varieties replace the large numbers of traditional varieties, there is significant loss in plant genetic diversity. Consequently, as environmental conditions continue to change, there is a possibility that the small number of specialized crops may not have retained sufficient genetic variability to enable them to adapt to the new circumstances.....