Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Deforestation

Crustmania, Deforestation, Flickr, Creative Commons – Attribution 2.0 Generic
7 March 2017

This perspective article exposes and explains uncertainties in our historical calculations of carbon fluxes associated with land use and land cover change, and uses comparisons between dynamic global vegetation models (DGVMs) to estimate the effects of these uncertainties on historical, current and future assessments of carbon fluxes between the land and air.

10 January 2017

This report, entitled ‘What’s at Steak? The Real Cost of Meat’ published by the Global Forest Coalition in December 2016, emphasises the negative impact of industrial livestock production on forests, using five detailed case studies, in BoliviaBrazilIndiaParaguay, and Russia. In South America, for example, the report states that 71% of deforestation in the region has been driven by demand for livestock products.

Photo credit: Steve Slater, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
29 November 2016

This article evaluates the impact of voluntary crop sustainability standards on biodiversity protection. The authors reviewed the 12 major crop standards (such as Organic cropland (IFOAM), Fairtrade and Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil), and found that only two of these prohibited all deforestation (Rainforest Alliance/Sustainable Agriculture Network and Proterra). 

Photo credit: Scion_cho, Junked, Flickr, Creative Commons licence 2.0
24 October 2016

A key ingredient in junk food is vegetable oil. 60% of this oil is from oil palm and soybean, production of which has been expanding in Southeast Asia and South America, resulting in widespread deforestation and biodiversity loss. In this article, the authors calculate the amount of current deforestation due to vegetable oil consumption (through junk food) and extrapolate vegetable oil demand to predict the deforestation future consumption patterns would cause by 2050.

Photo credit: James Anderson, photo-oil-palm-fruit-original, Flickr, Creative Commons licence 2.0
24 October 2016

The largest share of agricultural land in tropical landscapes is managed, not as large-scale industrial plantations, but by smallholders. This Nature Communications article integrates the interdisciplinary research of more than 20 research groups, and seeks to address gaps in our understanding of the ecological impacts of this smallholder-managed agricultural land. The study uses a multifaceted approach to investigating the crop choices that farmers make and how these choices impact on ecological and economic outcomes.

18 October 2016

This report by Zero Carbon Australia, outlines how research on greenhouse gas emissions from land use (agriculture and forestry) can be reduced to zero net emissions, coupled with economic opportunities and increased resilience in the face of climate change. The land use sector is the second largest source of emissions in Australia and is highly exposed to the impacts of climate change. 15% of total emissions in Australia are from the agriculture and forestry sectors, the largest component of which is land clearing for grazing.

Photo: Marufish, palm oil mill, Flickr, Creative Commons licence 2.0
20 September 2016

Strong demand for vegetable oil has led to a boom in the Indonesian and Malaysian palm oil industries since 1990. Typically planted in extremely large monoculture plantations, the crop has been implicated in biodiversity loss and human rights issues.

Photo: Glenn Hurowitz, Flickr, deforestation for oil palm, creative commons license 2.0
23 August 2016

In this analysis presented in the journal Nature, four conservation scientists warn against the current trend of over-reporting on climate change’s impacts on biodiversity. Instead, they find that by far the biggest drivers of biodiversity loss are overexploitation (the harvesting of species from the wild at rates that cannot be compensated for by reproduction or regrowth) and agriculture.

Photo: glennhurowitz, Palm oil plantation encroaching on forest, Flickr, Creative commons licence 2.0
1 August 2016

This study warns that converting Africa's tropical forests into monoculture palm plantations will cause a significant spike in carbon emissions and highlights that regulation can assist in achieving net-zero carbon while meeting production goals.

1 August 2016

This special issue of the Journal of Industrial Ecology takes a closer look at how consumption is increasingly met by global supply chains that often involve large geographical distances.

Photo: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Fall Line Farms; cooperative, co-op; Richmond, VA, Flickr, Creative commons licence 2.0
24 July 2016

In the paper Organic agriculture in the twenty-first century by Reganold and Wachter (2016), that the FCRN has previously summarised, organic agriculture was found to be more profitable and environmentally beneficial compared with conventional farming as well as more productive and profitable in the long term, especially in developing countries where it provides an “ideal blueprint in addressing climate change”.

Photo credit: (Flickr: crustmania, creative commons 2.0)
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

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.

3 February 2016

This very useful paper focuses on Brazilian beef production in the Cerrado grasslands region of Brazil makes an important contribution to the on-going debate about the merits of different livestock production systems, and of different consumption patterns.

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