Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Land use and land use change

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.

19 December 2013

This paper, which looks at the impact of agricultural intensification on soils across Europe, suggests that differences in the intensity of land use significantly affects soil ecosystems and the services they provide. High intensity arable land use is found to a have lower diversity and biomass of soil organisms than lower intensity arable or permanent grassland, and that this affects the carbon and nitrogen cycles in the environment.

12 December 2013

This discussion paper introduces ideas on how to manage and improve cross-sectoral collaborative action addressing sustainability challenges. It highlights how complex non-linear linkages exist between food, agricultural, and land systems and it looks at the question of how stakeholders can collaborate and how to improve the effectiveness of cross-sectoral collaborations.

21 November 2013

This IFPRI (International Food Policy Research Institute) policy note summarises the results of a study that compares the effects that different technologies have on crop yields and resource use, in particular arable land, water and nutrient inputs. It models technology-induced changes in crop yields and considers how the mix of technology uptake can influence the global food market through changes in food prices and trade flows, as well as calorie availability, in particular for developing countries.

21 November 2013

The CDP Global Forests Report 2013, launched on 20 November 2013 provides an analysis of the global companies that responded to CDP’s 2013 forests information request on behalf of 184 investors with $13 trillion in assets. The report provides an insight into how companies are addressing their exposure to risks from the agricultural commodities responsible for most deforestation globally. 

13 November 2013

IGD has released this guide to help buyers and planners to prepare for scenarios of uncertain future food supplies. It tries to provide companies with help to identify risks, anticipate and prepare for possible disruptions to their supply routes and maintain deliveries to consumers. It includes information on 19 food security issues explained from a company viewpoint and recommendations on how to manage risk and keep down costs. The chapters focus on issues such as global consumption, food waste, food affordability, climate change, land use and soil degradation.

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.

17 September 2013

This video introduces the themes and goals of the Global Landscapes Forum which will take place in Warsaw 16-17 November this year, during COP 19. The forum will focus on issues such as how we can feed a growing population without clearing the world’s remaining forests to make way for new farmland and how we can stem the tide of climate change. The overall aim is to discuss how a “landscapes approach” can help us address these issues.

Click here to see the video.

17 September 2013

Approximately one-third of all food produced for human consumption in the world is lost or wasted.  This FAO report argues that this waste represents a missed opportunity to improve global food security, and to mitigate the environmental impacts resulting from the food supply chain.

4 March 2013

Oxfam has published a report, Behind the Brands, which assesses the ethical performance of the ‘big 10’ food companies against criteria such as transparency of supply chains and operations, ensuring the rights of workers, protection of women's rights, the management of water and land use, policies to reduce the impacts of climate change and ensuring farmers’ rights.

7 January 2013

The Program for the Human Environment at the Rockefeller University has released a report suggesting that farmland useage might have peaked and the land required for agriculture will start to shrink. The authors predict that in the next half-century, a geographical area more than twice the size of France will return to its natural state from farmland. The Rockefeller researchers say factors such as slower population growth, declines in deforestation, and improved agricultural yields have spared the “unimaginable destruction of nature.”

25 October 2012

The Rural Economy and Land Use Programme (RELU) has published a policy brief that investigates the relationship between farming practice and sustainability at landscape scales. The vital role played by biodiversity in providing services that support life on Earth has become clearer in recent years, requiring increased care to maintain them. There are strong debates, however, about how to achieve a balance between increased and more sustainable production. One aspect of the debate suggests that this could best be achieved by some areas specialising in intensive farming, while other areas are managed for wildlife, rather than aiming to farm entire landscapes in a wildlife-friendly manner. This is sometimes known as the “land sparing versus land sharing debate.”
The paper notes that thinking at the landscape scale is key to understanding the environmental costs/benefits of a farm, because:
• A farm is part of a larger landscape and its environmental impact depends partly on the bio-physical environment and the way neighbourhood farms are managed.
• The environmental context is created by different habitats, topologies, soils and climate, making different places ecologically and environmentally different.
• Neighbourhood effects arise as different species of wildlife may move across many farms during their lives, or may move from farmed land to non-farmed land nearby at different stages of their life cycles.
• Some landscapes may be more naturally biodiverse than others, or be better suited to intensive production.
While the paper focuses on the UK context, the general issues it explores are relevant to other contexts and at wider scales. The full paper can be found here.