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.

8 July 2016

According to this UK study there is a potential for improving soil carbon assessments if inventories increasingly assess soils below the current common level of 30 cm. The researchers estimate that over double the amount of carbon is stored in all UK grassland soils when looking at a depth of 1 metre compared to estimates where only the top 30 cm of soil is considered.

7 July 2016

Innovative, climate-smart soil-management can be developed to improve soil fertility; these can increase agricultural production and food security while contributing to climate mitigation through carbon sequestration. The authors propose the solution of recreating conditions that lead to the formation of ADE (African Dark Earths).

9 June 2016

Taking as their starting point a hypothetical zero-deforestation for agricultural production, where people would refrain from clearing any further forests for agricultural purposes, the researchers behind this study look at both supply side and demand side measures to assess how changes in production and diet can assist in halting deforestation

9 June 2016

This paper discusses the water-energy-food nexus from a UK perspective with a focus on competing land demands.  The research, led by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, suggests that current UK policies on water, energy and food are too fragmented to effectively tackle global challenges. The paper argues that there is a need for cross-sectoral policies and for new research to focus on the nexus between sectors, scales and timeframes to address this challenge.

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.

20 April 2016

This study is the first to look at the net balance of the three major (biogenic, non-fossil fuel) greenhouse gases; carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide - for every region of earth's land masses. It analyses emissions from land use and land use change and uptakes from land and forests and concludes that the terrestrial biosphere (land and forests) is a net emitter of these greenhouse gases.

31 March 2016

This paper in Science discusses the potential of yield increase incentives as a way of convincing farmers to save land to protect biodiversity rather than increasing farmland.   The increase of agricultural land is one of the leading causes of biodiversity loss and greenhouse gas emissions in tropical countries. This paper argues that increasing yields on existing agricultural land can provide farmers with the incentive to spare land for wildlife and nature.

10 March 2016

In this study, researchers from the Netherlands and Italy investigate the long-term (past and future) changes in phosphorus (P) budgets in grasslands used for grazing and in connection with croplands. The authors recognise a lack in the literature of studies characterising the P cycle in relation to grasslands and croplands, and - as grass-dependent livestock demand is increasing – they seek to address this lack of understanding.

16 February 2016

Extract from book introduction:

The growth in global population and more demanding consumption patterns around the world are placing ever increasing pressures on land and its resources. This is resulting in conflicts and the unsustainable use of humanity’s resource base.

16 February 2016

In this paper, researchers from James Cook University, Australia, assess the impact on the environment and agriculture of 33 planned or existing “development corridors” in sub-Saharan Africa. Development corridors are tracts of land earmarked for large-scale infrastructure expansions (e.g. road access) with the aim of increasing agricultural production.

3 February 2016

This commentary published in Science Letters, discusses new data recently released by FAO’s statistical division, and makes the case that the current large-scale reversion in pasture area is opening up a potential conservation opportunity. Author and FCRN member Joseph Poore argues that as grazing of land has become more intensive globally, we are seeing ruminant outputs increasing while large agricultural areas are being abandoned, and he argues that this offers a new opportunity for land-sparing conservation.

18 January 2016

In this paper, researchers at the National University of Singapore identify the major land use changes associated with mangrove deforestation in Southeast Asia, with an aim of ultimately facilitating appropriately targeted policy interventions to manage the forests. Over a 12-year period, the researchers quantified LULCC in deforested patches, and classified the replacement land uses (e.g. aquaculture).

18 January 2016

In this paper, researchers from a number of UK and US research institutions explore the potential for land sparing as a greenhouse gas (GHG) offsetting strategy – that is, by increasing crop and livestock yields so as to enable agricultural land to be freed up and used for habitat restoration (for example) an enable carbon sequestration. 

17 December 2015

This paper discusses the use of food waste as a feed source for pigs reared for pork in the EU, the current policy landscape and implications for agricultural land use, profits and pork production of using waste as feed.  The authors find that re-legalising the use of food waste as pig feed in the EU could spare 1.8 million hectares of global agricultural land, improve profitability for many farmers, and produce pork of high quality.

2 December 2015

Research published in Nature Climate Change shows that accelerated erosion due to agricultural management is a major threat to food security and soil sustainability.

Erosion is a natural process that continually shapes the land surface. The removal of soil also removes carbon contained in that soil. With erosion removing top soil it removes the layer of the soil that has the greatest concentration of carbon.

16 November 2015

This report entitled “Explaining Extreme Events of 2013 from a Climate Perspective” is the fourth in a series of annual reports published by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  It provides an assessment of how climate change may have affected the strength and likelihood of individual extreme events.