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.

21 May 2018

This open access book, edited by Kate Schreckenberg, Georgina Mace and Mahesh Poudyal, explores the link between ecosystems services and alleviating poverty. Topics include trade-offs associated with land intensification, population dynamics, governance for ecosystem health and human wellbeing, and payments for ecosystems services.

Image: United Soybean Board, Soybean harvest, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
21 May 2018

The paper presents land use scenarios that provide enough food for 9 billion people, biodiversity protection and terrestrial carbon storage while staying inside the planetary boundaries for land and water use. The main features of these scenarios are improved agricultural productivity (through reducing the gap between current and maximum potential crop yields, and replacing some ruminant meat production with pork and poultry) and redistribution of agricultural production to areas with relatively high productivity and water supplies but low existing levels of biodiversity.

15 May 2018

The book “Agricultural Development and Sustainable Intensification: Technology and Policy Challenges in the Face of Climate Change”, edited by Udaya Sekhar Nagothu, examines different approaches to sustainable intensification and presents case studies from around the world.

Image: European Space Agency, Central-eastern Brazil, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
15 May 2018

Better models are needed to assess and manage conflicting requirements for ecosystems services from land, a recent paper argues. These “uber integrated assessment models”, as the paper calls them, would help decision-makers to better understand the links between local and global land use policies.

Image: NASA, Deforestation in Amazonia, seen from satellite, Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain
30 April 2018

Tropical deforestation is nearing a critical point, beyond which the rate of forest fragmentation could increase much more rapidly than the rate of forest area loss, according to a study. Fragmentation can have negative effects on biodiversity and also increases carbon emissions beyond those from just the deforested areas, since trees are at greater risk of dying on the edges between forest and cleared land. The researchers predict that reforestation and a reduction in the rate of deforestation are both needed if fragmentation is to be reversed.

Image: Jackie Proven, Leaping deer in wheat field near Hawklaw, Geograph, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
30 April 2018

Intensifying agricultural production can make farmland less valuable for wildlife, says a new paper, but optimising land use (by intensifying agriculture in areas where it will cause the least biodiversity loss) can reduce the projected biodiversity loss by up to 88%. The winners and losers of this strategy depend on whether land use is optimised globally or nationally.

24 April 2018

A report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine summarises a webinar and workshop that addressed the current state of knowledge on managing land to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, the research needed for predicting the relevant impacts of land use change and management practices and the state of knowledge on policies, incentives, and socio-economic constraints on terrestrial carbon sequestration activities.

24 April 2018

A new report, The Avoidable Crisis, finds that large-scale deforestation, fires and human rights abuses are linked to soy plantations and the global meat industry.

Image: ILRI, Groundnut farmer in Malawi, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
23 April 2018

This article looks at our ability to increase cropping intensity in order to meet future food needs and avoid expanding cropped land area. The research produces spatially explicit information on the cropping intensity gap, i.e. the difference between actual and potential cropping intensity and finds that increasing cropping intensity could compensate for land lost to urbanisation.

Image: Dudarev Mikhail, Stumps in the valley caused by deforestation and slash and burn types of agriculture in Madagascar, IPBES Media Resources
10 April 2018

Land degradation caused by human activities is driving the world towards a sixth mass species extinction, makes climate change worse, has negative impacts on at least 3.2 billion people and costs the world the equivalent of 10% of annual GDP through lost biodiversity and ecosystems services, according to a report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

Image: Winniepix, The ploughing match-19.jpg, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
10 April 2018

This article evaluates the “4 per 1000” initiative’s potential to increase soil organic carbon (SOC) by assessing 16 long-term soil experiments conducted by the UK based Rothamsted Research, involving 114 different soil treatments (including addition of farmyard manure (FYM), nitrogen fertilisers, pasture leys, conversion of arable land into woodland and residue incorporation) over 7–157 years.

Image: Brian Boucheron, Fairyland Mesclun Mixed, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
19 March 2018

The Carbon Underground, Green America and various food industry partners are developing a new standard for regenerative agriculture. It is claimed that the standard will encourage farmers to restore soil and improve crop resilience and nutrient density.

Image: USDA, k9515-1, flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
19 March 2018

In this paper, researchers from the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission investigate the extent to which variation in nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions may offset or enhance the mitigation effects of carbon sequestration in arable European soils. They employ a biogeochemical model with input data from ~8000 soil sampling locations to quantify CO2 and N2O flux associated with different agricultural practices aimed at carbon (C) mitigation.

Image: United Soybean Board, Corn Harvest, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
12 March 2018

This article explains the technological changes behind the three-fold increase in global crop production between 1961 and 2014, i.e. since the Green Revolution. It examines the 58 countries that are responsible for 95% of food production and assesses the impacts of changes in land use, inputs and efficiency.

6 March 2018

This free book, published by the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience at Coventry University and edited by the People’s Knowledge Editorial Collective, explores the ways in which the knowledge of people directly involved in the food supply chain can help in transforming the food system.

6 March 2018

This book, edited by Joshua Zeunert and Tim Waterman, sets out a wide array of interdisciplinary knowledge on landscapes, agriculture, food and sustainability.

Image: Fort Greene Focus, Rooftop farm, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic
26 February 2018

Urban agriculture could provide several percent of global food production, according to the first global estimate of its potential.

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