Agriculture faces enormous challenges with the new realities of climate risks, environmental sustainability, and social changes, particularly in Mountainous Mainland Southeast Asia. It has been commonly viewed that agriculture is a threat to ecosystems, including forests, and this places developing countries in a dilemma.
This article presents two case studies from Yunnan, China and discusses multifaceted roles of forests in sustainable food production and functioning of ecosystem services. The cases represent the survival of farming system for centuries, sustained by forests, ecosystem services, and traditional ecological knowledge. Forests play a vital role in food security while traditional ecological knowledge has maintained sustainable and longstanding production systems with forests.
Food security involves context- and location-specific challenges. It necessitates to address the multifaceted food security issue with localized approaches for synergy between farming and forests, to build local resilience against climate variability and social changes.