PNAS (2011) 108(50):19841-2.Lansing JS, Kremer JN
In 2002, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization launched a program to recognize “globally important agricultural heritage systems”. However, so far, only eight systems have been included. In PNAS, the work by Xie et al. reports the results of a 5-yr study of one of the systems, a farming system in south China, where for over 1,200 y, farmers have grown an indigenous species of common carp in their rice paddies. The methods used in this study are impressively thorough, but the purpose of the research is only incidentally to document an exotic agricultural heritage. Instead, the main goal is to discover whether features of this traditional agricultural system could contribute to innovations in sustainable agriculture at the global scale by unpacking the ecological interactions between fish, rice, and the environment.
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