Ecosystems such as wetlands, forests and river basins play a critical role in food production and security. They support the availability, access to and use of foods, both farmed and wild.
- Around 7,000 species of plants and several thousand species of animals have been used for human food since farming began.
- Bees and other insects provide a free pollination service valued at over US$ 200 billion per year.
- There are 870 million undernourished people in the world.
Within these ecosystems, wild sources of food including vegetables, fruits, nuts and bushmeat are important to hundreds of millions of people. They are critical, especially during times of famine, insecurity, or conflict when regular food supplies are disrupted.
Bushmeat in the Congo Basin alone feeds nearly 100 million people – both urban and rural dwellers – and is important in many other forested regions of the world.
Wild foods also help provide a balanced and varied diet, contributing to improved human health. Biodiversity supports agricultural production through ‘services’ such as water purification, soil formation, nutrient cycling, pest control and pollination.