Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems: a legacy for the future
Parviz Koohafkan and Miguel A. Altieri
FAO, 2011

The Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) are defined by FAO as “remarkable land use systems and landscapes which are rich in globally significant biological diversity evolving from the co-adaptation of a community with its environment and its needs and aspirations for sustainable development.” Such complex, diverse, and locally adapted agricultural systems have been developed by farmers, herders, fishers and forest people for millennia. These systems, to be found throughout the world, have been managed with time-tested, ingenious combinations of techniques and practices that have usually led to community food security and the conservation of natural resources and biodiversity. Whether recognized or not by the scientific community, these ancestral agricultural systems constitute the foundation for contemporary and future agricultural innovations and technologies. This booklet includes sections on GIAHS, their custodians and remarkable characteristics; the Global Partnership Initiative; climate change and agricultural heritage systems; rewarding traditional farmers as providers of ecological and cultural services; opportunities for promoting dynamic conservation of GIAHS; conclusions for sustainable agriculture and rural development; as well as a presentation of GIAHS pilot systems around the world. Download the booklet in English [pdf] … Download the booklet in French [pdf] … Download the booklet in Spanish [pdf] …