Landscapes and diets

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Landscape diversity for healthy diets

At different scales, from village to global level, the quality of diets is linked to the quality of the landscapes that fundamentally provide for them. Landscape diversity is key to dietary diversity and therefore to good nutrition.

This cluster of activity explores ways in which landscape diversity management through forests and tree-based systems/agroforestry can contribute to healthier food systems and diets, and therefore food security and nutrition. It seeks to provide evidence, knowledge and information on the practices, mechanisms and strategies through which forests and trees on farms, and related value chains, can enhance food systems and diets under different conditions and contexts including rural–urban food system linkages.

It analyses how trees contribute to various components of healthy diets in rural and urban contexts, and the ways in which these can be influenced by changing tree-cover related landscape-level patterns, including land-use transition, agricultural intensification, shifting cultivation, home gardens, cropland–forest mosaics and forest management intensities. This cluster also assesses how inland water, fish, insects, bush meat and wild indigenous tree products can form parts of diverse diets in rural and urban contexts, compatible with sustainable harvest intensities.

The evidence generated is used by land planners, decision makers, development agencies and communities for developing interventions, implementing them and evaluating failures and successes as a basis for further learning. The overall objective is the provision of means for an increase of on-farm production of a diversity of fruits, nuts, vegetables and legumes, and increased amounts of collected wild resources including wild fruits, vegetables, bush meat, mushrooms, insects and fish from forests. It also aims at increased value capture by producers/collectors of nutrient-rich food, reduced post-harvest losses of wild and cultivated nutrient-rich food, and increased incomes and employment. Finally, it targets increased dietary diversity of low-income rural and urban consumers using a variety of nutrient-rich wild and cultivated foods available during economic, social and/or environmental shocks.

Examples of related research activities include:
Stocktaking of statistical datasets that link dietary diversity to species-level and genetic diversity of agricultural and associated landscapes, and process-level models that interpret this in terms of availability, access and behavioral patterns, setting priorities for further work by FTA and partners;
Analysis of priorities and options for developing capacities of value-chain actors (including input suppliers, producers, processors, retailers and traders) on production, post-harvest handling, processing, marketing and consumption of nutrient-rich foods derived at landscape scale;
An impact study of the effectiveness of interventions by development partners aimed at supporting dietary diversity through diverse landscapes;
Protocols for the analysis of nutritional variation in the seeds of Parkia biglobosa along an environmental gradient and soil types in Burkina Faso.

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