A confluence of discoveries in ecology and agriculture suggests that biodiversity can help address the sustainability problems facing modern intensive agriculture. Here we explore several questions related to this possibility. Can increases in national crop diversity help increase the stability and security of national food systems? Can practices based on greater crop biodiversity produce yields that compete with those obtained through the long-standing, high-input monoculture model? What are the appropriate levels and combinations of crops to be used? We highlight recent research that suggests it is time to begin unlocking the agricultural potential of biodiversity — from the level of crop genetic diversity to species diversity — and to do so on spatial scales from individual fields to nations. Recent research suggests that the biodiversification of agriculture may lead to greater and more stable yields, decrease land clearing, and lower the use of harmful agrochemicals.
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