Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Land

Just under 40% of the entire terrestrial surface of our planet is used for agriculture, the vast majority of this for pasture. The land area which can be defined as wilderness – areas where humans have little influence – accounts for around 20% of the total land area and this extent is diminishing. These wilderness areas are, however, vital for the continued existence of wildlife plant species, and ecosystem services. As human populations grow and their lifestyle and consumption patterns become more resource demanding, the pressure on land use is increasing, and the multiple uses we have for land are often in competition with one another. Different cultures define ownership and rights to use land in contrasting ways, making land not only a precious resource but often a focus of contention too.

13 July 2017

The People's Food Policy project has created a blueprint for action to change the food system in England. Their explicit aim was ‘to map out what an integrated food policy would look like if people were put at the heart of decision-making.’

Photo: FoodandYou, 1-soybean-harvest-brazil-co, Flickr Creative commons licence 2.0
13 July 2017

This article takes a closer look at the telecoupling between China and Brazil based on their soybean trading relationships. Telecoupling is the term used to describe the interconnectedness or coupling of natural and human systems and it indicates that there are complex socioeconomic and environmental interactions over distances.

Photo: Simone Fenger, Cassava production in Agroforestry system, Creative Commons License 2.0 generic.
12 June 2017

In this article a group of American researchers provide commentary on how sustainable applications of integrated agricultural systems (IAS) can be designed to enhance all ecosystem services, without compromising the land’s resilience. The authors describe IAS as an interactive and synergistic resource transfer between multiple agricultural enterprises over space and/or time. 

1 June 2017

This paper by researchers in Germany explores the scalability of managed woody and herbaceous bioenergy plantations (BP) for terrestrial capture of atmospheric carbon. The researchers make simulations to quantitatively explore how much land area could be made available globally for this terrestrial carbon dioxide removal (tCDR) strategy. 

26 May 2017

A new center has been launched as part of the wider Chatham House organisation, the Hoffman Centre (hoffmanncentre.eco). The Centre will aim to bring clarity to complex issues through trusted evidence and insightful analysis. 

Photo: Sarah, A Tasty Snack, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0 generic.
26 May 2017

This paper compares stylised, hypothetical dietary scenarios to assess the potential for reducing agricultural land requirements. It suggests that a combination of smaller shifts in consumer diet behaviour – such as reducing beef consumption by replacing with chicken, introducing insects into mainstream diets and reducing consumer waste – could reduce agricultural land requirements.

29 March 2017

In this Nature commentary Jess Davies from Lancaster Environment Centre discusses the urgent need to deal with the degradation of our soils, focusing on the need for the private sector to take this sustainability threat seriously by taking action on soil. Today one-third of all soils and more than half of agricultural soils are moderately or highly degraded.

Crustmania, Deforestation, Flickr, Creative Commons – Attribution 2.0 Generic
7 March 2017

This perspective article exposes and explains uncertainties in our historical calculations of carbon fluxes associated with land use and land cover change, and uses comparisons between dynamic global vegetation models (DGVMs) to estimate the effects of these uncertainties on historical, current and future assessments of carbon fluxes between the land and air.

Photo credit: Bruno Girin, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
15 February 2017

With global trade, UK consumption patterns are displacing cropland use to other countries. This paper by FCRN members Henri de Ruiter, Jennie Macdiarmid and Pete Smith looks at the environmental consequences of competition for global agricultural land and specifically at the total land footprint associated with the total livestock product supply in the UK.  

Photo credit: DFID - UK Department for International Development, Women and men in northern Rwanda work on a public works site, building terraces to prevent soil erosion, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic.
24 January 2017

This article by agricultural researchers in Spain reviews the historical changes in land use and soil management practices, and examines how these changes have contributed to soil erosion in the past, before presenting modelling data to show how soil erosion may impact on agricultural yields in the future.

17 January 2017

In this Nature Comment article, Elena Bennett of the McGill School of Environment and the Department of Natural Resource Sciences, Québec, argues against the underlying premise of the ‘land-sparing’ vs ‘land-sharing’ debate that has dominated the agriculture-environment discourse for decades, and advocates a new and more holistic approach that focuses on maximising human well-being.

Photo credit: Lorraine, BEST of SHOW March 2010 - Oregon Society of Artists - Field Burning, Flickr, Creative Commons licence 2.0
22 November 2016

One of the greatest challenges of this century is figuring out how to feed more people, while significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, just as other demands on land - for example, for sequestration and bioenergy production - are increasing. 

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