Land is a finite resource, and one that must be managed carefully in order to feed growing human populations, protect biodiversity, store carbon to offset emissions, and stabilize the climate.
With a projected population growth of several billion people over the next 30 years, we must find ways to simultaneously increase food production while protecting the habitats and biodiversity that make life on this planet possible. Decisions around agricultural production methods, diets, consumption, biofuel production, and land use play a key role climate change and carbon sequestration, as there are important tradeoffs associated with converting land for other types of production or use.
As global temperatures continue to rise, agricultural productivity in regions will also change. Therefore, food production, economic development, migration, and climate change are deeply intertwined, and appropriate policies may help to balance competing needs and demands of communities and the environment.
A multi-year project, funded by Norway's International Climate and Forest Initiative, to explore better ways for companies and governments to account for their greenhouse gas emissions in ways that support the efficient uses of land.
What will it take to be able to feed nearly 10 billion people over the next three decades while also addressing and adapting to climate change? This comprehensive report provides a menu of strategies that could allow us to feed everyone, including a model that estimates how much each solution could contribute to the goals of increasing productivity, decreasing demand, or limiting greenhouse gas emissions. C-PREE Research Scholar and WRI Senior Fellow, Tim Searchinger, is lead author of the report. The report was prepared by the World Resources Institute in collaboration with the World Bank, UN Environment, and UNDP, with technical contributions from INRA & CIRAD.
Europe has high potential to reduce its land footprint, the land used to supply its agricultural products and wood. This decline has a critical climate role: Europe’s agricultural footprint includes 24 million hectares of foreign land used to supply net agricultural imports, a land use “outsourcing” that causes a loss of 400 million tons of CO2 per year. Fortunately, by reasonably increasing crop yields and reducing biofuels to 2010 levels, Europe can eliminate its global land outsourcing and reduce its own cropland by 16.5 million hectares.
The types of food we grow and consume have a direct impact on human health, but they also influence greenhouse gas emissions, water use, energy consumption, transportation and supply chains, and land-use decisions. As of 2010, agriculture was estimated to account for about one-quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions. Our researchers consider the complex relationship among agricultural production techniques, food security, climate change, and human health to make recommendations that optimize our use of resources.
The degradation and conversion of forests to alternative land uses, such as agriculture, is one of the leading causes of biodiversity loss, especially in the tropics. The impacts of land-use change are likely to be exacerbated by the looming climate crisis. Our researchers are studying specifically how species are affected by these changes and their ability to persist in different types of ecosystems.
Worldwide, people are on the move, seeking new economic opportunities in cities and fleeing changing environments and conflicts. The process of rural emigration has contributed to agricultural abandonment, in which lands are left uncultivated as the economic benefits of farming decline. Our researchers seek to understand how these trends will affect wildlife and the habitats they rely on, and recommend policies to help manage these changes.
In July 2021, the European Union proposed a policy package that aimed to reduce EU greenhouse gas emissions by fifty-five percent by 2030. The series of laws known as “Fit for 55” are the subject of final negotiations between the European Parliament and the European Council, which represent EU country governments. However, a new analysis by…
Brian Lee, a PhD student in the Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy (STEP) cluster of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, was recently awarded the 2021-22 Best Student Publication Award in the College of Bioresources and Agriculture at National…
The triple-digit temperatures sweeping across the country this summer go far beyond routine weather fluctuations. Indeed, June 2021 was the hottest June in the history of national weather records, and by the end of July, fully 40% of the nation was experiencing drought, which contributed to a western wildfire season whose smoke reached…