Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Journal article

9 June 2020

This paper by FCRN member Roger Leakey proposes a three-stage process to improve smallholder incomes, yields, nutrition and environmental performance in tropical agriculture, focusing on Africa. Leakey argues that food policies developed in industrialised nations do not always recognise that farming systems are very different across the world.

9 June 2020

This perspective piece assesses the technological readiness of a variety of food system innovations, such as artificial meat, drones and vertical farming. It also suggests eight ways in which food system innovation can be accelerated by incentives and regulation. 

27 May 2020

This paper finds that global cropland use could be almost halved while maintaining current output levels by optimising fertiliser inputs and re-allocating the production location of 16 major crops. Co-benefits would include reduced emissions from fertilisers and rice paddies, lower irrigation water requirements, and land being freed up for sequestering carbon through restoring natural vegetation.

26 May 2020

This paper reviews the environmental, economic and social consequences of the oil palm boom. It finds that palm oil has increased incomes, generated employment and reduced poverty at the same time as causing deforestation and biodiversity loss. It discusses policy options to reduce the tradeoffs between environmental protection and economic benefits.

26 May 2020

FCRN member Bálint Balázs of the Environmental Social Science Research Group, Budapest, Hungary has co-authored this paper, which argues that Eastern European food practices have been overlooked or their importance downgraded in much of the contemporary academic literature. The paper uses three examples to illustrate how evidence from Eastern Europe is often represented by deploying the terminology and concepts developed in West European food scholarship.

19 May 2020

FCRN member Sander Biesbroek of Wageningen University & Research has co-authored this paper, which is the first modelling study to include and monetise social costs and benefits of a 15% or 30% meat tax or a 10% fruit and vegetables subsidy in the Netherlands. It finds that all three interventions could lead to a net benefit to society over a 30 year time frame.

19 May 2020

This commentary piece draws on the experience of nutrition labelling to explore whether environmental sustainability labelling on food products can encourage more sustainable food choices and contribute towards building a healthy, sustainable food system.

19 May 2020

FCRN member Erasmus zu Ermgassen has co-authored this paper, which calculates variations in the carbon footprint of soy products grown in different regions of Brazil. It finds that soy from certain areas associated with loss of natural vegetation has a carbon footprint per unit of product six times higher than the average carbon footprint of Brazilian soy. It also finds that soy products imported by the European Union are more likely to be from regions linked to deforestation than soy exported from Brazil to other places, such as China.

12 May 2020

This opinion paper calls for organisers of scientific meetings to adhere to 12 principles to minimise the environmental impacts of the meetings, as outlined in the Cercedilla Manifesto. The principles cover food, transport and careful planning of remote meetings so that they are effective for all participants. The paper emphasises that nitrogen pollution is an often-neglected aspect of food sustainability.

12 May 2020

This paper examines the effectiveness of different forms of ecological compensation schemes - i.e. offsetting biodiversity lost to developments such as oil palm plantations or mines - in achieving “No Net Loss” of biodiversity. Using simulations of four case studies, it finds that none of the 18 ecological compensation policy designs studied would achieve No Net Loss of native vegetation extent. 

12 May 2020

This paper explores the association between consumption of ultra-processed foods and indicators of obesity in a sample of the UK adult population, using data from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey between 2008 and 2016. 

12 May 2020

The average number of days that US farm workers spend working in dangerously hot conditions could double by mid-century and triple by the end of the century, according to this paper. Workplace adaptations such as longer rest breaks, working more slowly, switching to single-layer clothing and having cooled rest areas could tackle this problem, but would negatively affect farm productivity, worker earnings and labour costs.

5 May 2020

This paper by FCRN member Daniel Tan finds that bioethanol derived from agave grown in semi-arid areas of Australia could have lower environmental impacts than biofuels derived from US corn and Brazilian sugarcane. Agave is widely grown in Mexico to make the alcoholic drink tequila. 

5 May 2020

This paper combines data on zoonotic viruses in mammals with trends in species abundance. It finds that wild land mammal species with larger populations generally harbour a greater number of zoonotic viruses. Furthermore, among mammal species that are threatened, those that are threatened because of exploitation (e.g. hunting or wildlife trade) or loss of habitat host approximately twice as many viruses as mammals that are threatened for other reasons.

5 May 2020

This paper uses temperature and precipitation projections across the ranges of over 30,000 species on land and in water to estimate when each species will be exposed to dangerous climate conditions. It predicts that most species within a given assemblage (group of species within a habitat) will encounter inhospitable climate conditions at the same time as each other (e.g. several species might have a similar upper limit on the temperature that they are able to cope with), meaning that disruption of the overall assemblage is likely to be abrupt.

29 April 2020

This paper by FCRN member Dominic Moran evaluates Farming for a Better Climate, a participatory extension programme (PEP) in Scotland that assists farmers in adopting climate friendly farming practices. PEPs are a type of advisory service where farmers, researchers and rural experts can swap information. The authors aimed to fill a research gap, since no other evaluations of PEPs for climate friendly farming existed at the time the paper was written. 

29 April 2020

This paper by FCRN member Diego Rose estimates that 16% of adults in the United States might be receptive to changing their diet if national dietary guidance were to include information about environmental sustainability. It also estimates the impacts of a range of different dietary changes for those people on greenhouse gas emissions, dietary quality and dietary costs.

29 April 2020

This paper studies the relationship between food system drivers and sustainability for a sample of low-, middle- and high-income countries. The aim of the research is to provide a clearer understanding of what drives food system sustainability, in order to better target interventions and investments to transform the food system.

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