Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Global Agriculture Trends: Are We Actually Using Less Land?

A colleague of mine recently alluded to the "rapidly accelerating conversion of natural habitat for agriculture," which got me curious how fast agricultural area was really growing globally. I was pretty surprised to find out that it is actually shrinking! This doesn't mean conversion isn't happening, but it still makes for a pretty interesting story (with a few pretty important caveats). Read about it here:

Here is the map showing where ag land is expanding and where it is contracting:
And for those hesitant to click, here are the other charts:

Some of the most important caveats are: the data has some known issues, we don't have data on how sustainable the increased productivity is, and projected supply is not expected to keep up with projected demand.

The book chapter can be cited as follows for now:
Fisher, J.R.B. and Kareiva, P. Ecosystem-service based metrics of sustainability as tools for promoting conservation and food security. 2014. In Gardner et al. (Eds), Agricultural Resilience: Perspectives from Ecology and Economics. Cambridge University Press. Manuscript submitted for publication.

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