The Radio 4 program Shared Planet, Agricultural Crops and Wildlife asks: Can we feed the growing world population and maintain biodiversity ?
Globally, 90% of farms are less than a few hectares and yet they produce the majority of the world's food as well as having a vital role in maintaining biodiversity. If they copy the intensive agriculture of the west (source of 30% global food production) they will inevitably experience the same population free fall in numbers of insects, bees, birds and crop diversity.
For the West, intensive agriculture is destroying the very ecology it relies on, however, removing just a small amount of land from large scale agriculture and managing it for biodiversity makes a massive difference.
In the East, based on the experience of 100,000's small scale farmers in India, the inspirational Dr Vandana Shiva found that the more bio-diverse a farm, the more nutrition it produces; "We could be feeding two Indias with good nutrition using the same amount of land use we have today just by ecological and bio-diverse intensification, which means protecting wildlife and protecting diversity. On the other hand after you have chopped the Amazon, after you have destroyed Argentina, where are you going to go?"
With finite planet resources, we also need a stable global population. She notes that in India her experience is that when people feel safe, the population is stable, as in Kerala.
The battle ground for saving bees is the same battle ground for saving ecology and biodiversity.