Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Ecosystems and ecosystem services

18 February 2015

An article from Science Daily reports on how scientists, advisors and communications specialists have come together to examine whether beef production can help restore ecosystems. They have started to examine the adaptive multi-paddock (AMP) grazing management technique: this involves using small-sized fields to provide short periods of grazing for livestock and long recovery periods for fields.

29 January 2015

This updated version further develops the Planetary Boundaries concept, which was first published in 2009.  In their original outline of the concept the authors identified nine key global processes and systems that regulate the stability and resilience of the Earth System – the interactions of land, ocean, atmosphere and life that together provide conditions upon which our societies depend.  They argued that if these natural processes are disrupted beyond a certain ‘boundary’ point, the consequences could be irreversible and lead to abrupt environmental change, making life on earth very hard for humans.

3 December 2014

An online overview of agroecology research is currently being conducted in the UK by the Ecological Land Cooperative. A mixed professional and volunteer research team was commissioned to: 1) review research on ecological agriculture in the United Kingdom; and 2) provide a database of existing research. The overview is freely accessible and it was developed to inform both on-going research work and those working in the field of agroecology.

2 October 2014

This book contains 17 chapters focusing on the impacts of climate change on ecosystems, food security, water resources and economic stability. Strategies to develop sustainable systems that minimize impact on climate and/or mitigate the effects of human activity on climate change are also presented.

15 September 2014

This paper argues that a focus on increasing production in line with dominant projections of increased demand, through intensification of current industrial agricultural practices, will cause environmental damage and increase food insecurity.

23 June 2014

This paper looks at four different conceptual frameworks that tend to be used by diverse stakeholders when analysing the problem of food security and suggesting solutions: agroecology, agricultural innovation systems, social-ecological systems and political ecology. In this paper the authors look at how each perspective or framework thinks about the food security problem, the theoretical positions underpinning each framework, its approach to improving the food security situation and ultimately its vision of what ‘good’ looks like.

4 June 2014

This new paper in Global Environmental Change, builds on a 1997 study published in Nature on the global value of ecosystem services, and estimates the changes since then.

26 March 2014

This paper reviews one aspect of the food sustainability challenge: the goal of producing more food – a goal that is unthinkingly accepted by some and vigorously contested by  others. The paper argues that increased food production is necessary but also emphasises that this alone, as a response to the challenge, is not sufficient.

20 March 2014

This comparative five year study on grasslands suggests that allowing grazing animals to crop the excess growth of of grasses that, due to fertization, grow too vigorously, can counteract the threats these grasses present to the other plants that contribute to the biodiversity of native prairies.

22 January 2014

WWF International has published a report on soy which looks at how soy is produced and used, which countries are at risk from the expansion of soy and at how the production of pork, poultry and dairy drive soy production. Most importantly the report discusses how the carbon footprint of soy can be reduced and how a more responsible soy industry can be created, by suggesting ways in which rising demand for soy can be met without contributing to deforestation and habitat loss.

10 January 2014

This study maps the food systems of three capital cities, providing insight for future food security on how population growth, climate change and political instability will affect the open market. The three capital cities examined (Tokyo, Canberra and Copenhagen) and their accompanying capital regions or territories were chosen because they have populations that range over two orders of magnitude, and are situated within different global, climatic and physical locations and socio-economic contexts. The analysis provided is intended to provide a better understanding of the effects of a globally coupled food system.

19 December 2013

This blog-post in The Economist, written by Sir Gordon Conway and Katy Wilson, describes their views on sustainable intensification.  They argue that, to ensure food security in ways that maximise both agricultural output and the health of the environment and ecosystem, we need to redesign our innovation systems to aid multidisciplinary and collaborative research.

12 December 2013

This report by Swedish International Agricultural Network Initiative SIANI, deals with potential ways of feeding the projected world population of 9.6 billion in 2050 by sustainably closing yield gaps.

26 September 2013

In a recent article in BioScience, researchers argue that land-use decisions need to take into account the multiple impacts of revegetating agricultural landscapes. If decision making fails to address the wide range of issues of importance for landscapes, carbon farming (carbon markets and related international schemes that allow payments to landholders for planting trees) may have harmful effects, such as degrading ecosystems and causing food supply problems.