Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Crop systems

8 May 2017

This book explores the potential benefits of Multifunctional Agriculture to the social, economic and environmental sustainability of tropical agriculture and its potential to deliver the new Sustainable Development Goals.

Photo: Gralbeard, TomatoesRootSystem1-SouthGardenBed, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0 generic.
8 May 2017

This research brings together data from 389 field trials to determine how the root and shoot biomass, and carbon (C) stocks of major crops correlate to soil C in different environmental conditions. The analysis found all crops allocated more C to their shoots than roots. The greatest C allocation to roots was in grasses (which also had the highest plant biomass production).

Photo: Connie, polyculture, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0 generic.
12 April 2017

This paper, taken from an inaugural edition on planetary health in the Lancet, analyses global food and nutrient production and diversity by farm size, providing evidence on how smallholder farmers contribute to the quantity and quality of our global food supply and discussing the structural impacts of agriculture on nutrient availability.

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.  

Credit: Edward Musiak, Mountain range, Flickr, Creative Commons licence 2.0
22 November 2016

This paper takes as its starting point the mainstream projections that in future, global food production will need to increase by another 60–110% by 2050, to keep up with anticipated increases in human population and changes in diet (it should be noted, however, that the need and feasibility of such increases is contested (see), with many arguing that dietary change and waste reduction can reduce the need for production increases (see)).

18 October 2016

The ‘2016 Food, Water, Energy and Climate Outlook’ by the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change finds that even if commitments from the  COP21 climate agreement are kept, many staple crops in various regions are still at risk of crop failures through extreme events, but at the same time, yields in many regions are projected to increase.

Photo: South African Tourism, Northern Cape, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
11 October 2016

Recent assessments have strongly suggested that meeting the widely agreed target of limiting global warming to less than 2°C will require the deployment of substantial carbon sinks in addition to measures to curb greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This perspective article examines the latest research and thinking on the ability of agricultural soil management to reduce GHG emissions and promote soils as carbon sinks, and the practical feasibility of implementing available soil management practices

Photo, Suzette, Visiting an organic farm, Flickr, Creative Commons licence 2.0
23 August 2016

Alternative cropping systems such as organic or conservation agriculture are often expected to lead to enhanced soil carbon storage as compared with conventional systems, and therefore to hold potential to contribute to climate change mitigation via carbon sequestration.

Photo: Tony Hirtenstein, Cowslips, Worcester Pearmain tree and garden, Flickr, Creative commons licence, 2.0
24 July 2016

Permaculture is described here as a grassroots movement whose participants attempt to live in a sustainable way, taking inspiration from natural ecosystems in trying to live off the land as much as possible. The idea behind permaculture is to rely as much as possible on perennial crops, to recycle and reuse materials, and reduce waste. 

8 July 2016

According to the latest joint OECD-FAO report Food Outlook which analyses global food markets, the coming decade will likely see an end to a period of high agricultural prices, although prices are expected to rise for livestock relative to those for crops.

(Photo credit: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Government, Flickr creative commons licence 2.0)(Photo credit: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Government, Flickr creative commons licence 2.0)
7 July 2016

As the climate changes, and food demand increases, crop varieties suited to these conditions need to be developed. The authors of this paper warn that crops yields around the world could fall within a decade unless action is taken to speed up the introduction of new varieties. They propose three ways to improve matching of maize varieties in Africa to a warmed climate: reduce the BDA (the process of breeding, delivery and adoption), breed under elevated temperatures and act to mitigate climate change.

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