Increasing population and consumption are placing unprecedented demands on agriculture and natural resources. Today, approximately a billion people are chronically malnourished while our agricultural systems are concurrently degrading land, water, biodiversity and climate on a global scale. To meet the world’s future food security and sustainability needs, food production must grow substantially while, at the same time, agriculture’s environmental footprint must shrink dramatically. Here we analyse solutions to this dilemma, showing that tremendous progress could be made by halting agricultural expansion, closing ‘yield gaps’ on underperforming lands, increasing cropping efficiency, shifting diets and reducing waste. Together, these strategies could double food production while greatly reducing the environmental impacts of agriculture. Contemporary agriculture faces enormous challenges . Even with recent productivity gains, roughly one in seven people lack access to food or are chronically malnourished, stemming from continued poverty and mounting food prices . Unfortunately, the situation may worsen as food prices experience shocks from market speculation, bioenergy crop expansion and climatic disturbances . Even if we solve these food access challenges, much more crop production will probably be needed to guarantee future food security. Recent studies suggest that production would need to roughly double to keep pace with
Nature – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 12, 2011
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