Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Water pollution

Photo: U.S. Department of Agriculture, How much do fruits and vegetables cost, Flickr, CC by 2.0
12 December 2017

This new study by FCRN member Paul Behrens and colleagues investigates the environmental impacts of a nationally recommended diet when compared to the national average diet for 37 nations across the world, including 9 middle income nations.

12 December 2017

The planetary boundaries concept provides a theoretical upper limit on human activity which the planet is able to sustain without major perturbation to the current ‘Earth system’. Previously, nine planetary boundaries (PBs) have been proposed and recently Steffen et al. (2015) have updated these boundary definitions and assessed the current state of the position of human activity with respect to each boundary. In this article, researchers from a number of food, climate change, agricultural and environmental research institutions around the world build on this work by assessing the impact of agriculture on each PB status, based on a detailed literature review of the available research.

28 November 2017

This new book, edited by Laura M. Pereira, Caitlin A. McElroy, Alexandra Littaye and Alexandra M. Girard, presents a diversity of collaborations between various governance actors in the management of the Food-Energy-Water (FEW) nexus and analyses the ability of emergent governance structures to cope with the complexity of future challenges across FEW systems worldwide.

Photo: U.S. Department of Agriculture, 20130712-AMS-LSC-0415, Flickr, CC by 2.0
13 November 2017

This paper presents the findings of a food systems model that considers how specific agronomic characteristics of organic agriculture could be harnessed so as to enable it to play a greater role in sustainable food systems.

Photo: muffinn, Hallow – muck spreading, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0 Generic.
29 March 2017

This review assesses the performance of organic cropping systems as an approach to sustainable agriculture, and seeks to identify the contextual considerations (such as type of cropping system) that may affect this performance. The scope of the review is constrained to the level of the farming system (i.e. excludes considerations of other components of the food system, such as packaging or transport). In order to provide an unbiased assessment of organic farming as a means of sustainable agriculture, rather than approaching the question from the usual “What does organic farming do well/badly?” angle, the authors ask “What constitutes successful sustainable agriculture?” then measure organic farming against this yardstick.

Photo credit: Chris Booth, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
29 November 2016

The World Bank has released a short working paper arguing that the expansion of seaweed farming in tropical developing countries could have large positive impacts on local poverty, ecosystem management and climate change mitigation. The report goes through different benefits and uses of seaweed production and briefly discusses current and potential markets for the crop.

Photo: Natural resources conservation service (Flickr, creative commons 2.0)
9 June 2016

This paper looks at how soil can help contribute to climate mitigation.  It argues that by decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, sequestering carbon and using prudent agricultural management practices that improve the soil-nitrogen cycle (tighter cycle with less leakage), it is possible to enhance soil fertility, bolster crop productivity, improve soil biodiversity, and reduce erosion, runoff and water pollution.

20 April 2016

This paper looks at China’s National Forest Conservation Program (NFCP) and concludes that overall, it has been successful in reforesting the country. Prior to this study, scientists did not have proof of China’s claims of forest growth and the effectiveness of the program and China has been under international pressure to scientifically report their findings.

26 November 2014

Nitrogen is a necessary element for crop and livestock growth, and protein intake is essential for a balanced human diet. This study examines efforts to improve nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) in agriculture, and reduce unintended losses of nitrogen (N) to the environment. The paper particularly looks at how it is possible to offset reactive nitrogen (Nr) and achieve so called nitrogen-neutrality.

27 February 2014

Brighter Green has released a policy paper exploring the growth of industrial dairy systems in India, China, and countries of Southeast Asia. It explores the trend toward increased dairy consumption and production and argues that the growth of industrial systems results in severe consequences for the environment, public health, animal welfare, and rural economies. The report examines systemic changes in Asia while also providing country-specific case study analyses of Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

19 December 2013

This paper, which looks at the impact of agricultural intensification on soils across Europe, suggests that differences in the intensity of land use significantly affects soil ecosystems and the services they provide. High intensity arable land use is found to a have lower diversity and biomass of soil organisms than lower intensity arable or permanent grassland, and that this affects the carbon and nitrogen cycles in the environment.