Micro-organisms (e.g., yeast, bacteria and fungi) and invertebrates (e.g., insects, spiders and earthworms) are “hidden” components of biodiversity that make valuable contributions to sustainable agriculture and food security. They are the tiny workhorses – often invisible to the unaided eye – that pollinate crops and trees, recycle soil nutrients, help to sequester carbon, ferment and preserve foods, and control crop and livestock pests, among other vital contributions to agriculture and food production.
The dual nature of these organisms, as both helpful and harmful to agriculture, underscores the importance of understanding and managing them. Micro-organisms and invertebrates are the most diverse and least studied component of agricultural ecosystems.
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. (2012). Micro-organisms and invertebrates. Retrieved from fao.org
- Cock, M. et al. (2011). Climate Change and Invertebrate Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture: State of Knowledge, Risks and Opportunities. Retrieved from fao.org
- Beed, F., Benedetti, A., Cardinali, G., Chakraborty, S., Dubois, T., Garrett, K. &, Halewood, M. (2010, May). Climate Change and micro-organism genetic resources for food and agriculture: state of knowledge, risks and opportunities. Retrieved from fao.org