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.

Image: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay, CC0 Creative Commons
13 February 2018

This paper by researchers from the USA, UK and Mexico examines the biodiversity conservation and carbon storage implications of a number of land-use scenarios related to cattle ranching in Yucatán, Mexico.

Photo: Raúl Hernández González, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
8 January 2018

This article presents the results from a new global soil erosion model, based on a combination of remote sensing, GIS modelling and census data. It finds that accelerated soil erosion due to land use change between 2001 and 2012 is a major threat to soil and future agriculture but that previous commonly used estimates of annual global soil erosion were twice too high. In comparison with previous studies which had a mapping resolution of around 10–60 km cell size, this model with its high-resolution 250m cell size has far greater predictive power than any previous model. 

12 December 2017

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has released a worldwide map that details croplands in high resolution in an ongoing effort to monitor croplands and water use.

14 November 2017

The new report by World Wildlife Fund, Appetite for Destruction, highlights the vast amount of land that is needed to grow the crops used for animal feed, including in some of the planet’s most vulnerable areas such as the Amazon, Congo Basin and the Himalayas.

Photo: Matthias Ripp, Agriculture, Flickr, CC by 2.0
13 November 2017

This paper, by researchers from the US and the Netherlands, presents the findings of a model analysis that estimates how much soil organic carbon (SOC) has been lost, and from where, as a result of land use and land cover change (LU-LCC) associated with human agricultural activities.

30 October 2017

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has published its first edition of the Global Land Outlook (GLO), addressing future challenges and opportunities for the management and restoration of land resources in the context of sustainable development.

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.

Pages