The basis of the modern food system has involved major human

interventions into natural ecosystems, and their fundamental redesign

from complex and diverse habitats to agro-ecosystems often

characterised by monoculture production. Such transformations have

taken place in terrestrial (land-based) ecosystems to produce annual and

perennial crops and livestock, as well as in coastal, estuarine and

freshwater ecosystems in order to create highly productive aquaculture

operations providing fin-and shellfish. This transformation of natural

ecosystems got under way even before the development of agriculture

around 12,000 years ago, when bands of hunters used fire to flush out

their prey. Yet it is with the emergence of agriculture, when humans first

planted, deliberately and consciously, a seed, tuber or cutting with the

expectation that it would grow and produce a multiple of the original,

that the composition of ecosystems began to be actively manipulated.