Sustainable Intensification to Meet Growing Demand
From an article published 27 February 2012
It probably comes as no surprise that global population growth is on the rise, total land available to sustain that growth is limited, and beyond that, more of us will be living in urban areas when compared to anywhere else. So how is food production going to keep up with a growing population, when more and more of it has to be produced in the exact same amount of space? Tough question, this.
And if that’s not enough, throw in climate change and the prospects of global warming, and things begin to look very tricky. Enter, Sustainable Intensification — how farmers and ranchers will intensify production in a limited space, and how that growth can be made sustainable over time. According to a new article, “The concept of sustainable intensification – growing or even maintaining production while minimizing inputs and enhancing ecosystem services – was addressed on both sides of the Atlantic last week.”
Sustainable Intensification of Global Agriculture
In the United Kingdom during the National Farmers’ Union annual conference, Professor Tim Benton (professor of ecology at the University of Leeds and UK Champion of Global Food Security), noted that ecological management is vital to climate change, agricultural production, water conservation and carbon storage, all of which matter to a severe degree to the population. Professor Benton was quoted as saying, “We have to think more in the round – about the environmental aspects of sustainable intensification.” In a phrase, how do we do more with less?
Simultaneously, on our side of the pond, the president of Farm Foundation (Neil Conklin) addressed the USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum “that scientific advances have the potential to bring forward technologies that boost productivity and take into account both resources scarcities and environmental problems,” according to the article.
Conklin noted that a viable form of sustainable agriculture will need to meet an increasing demand, all the while incorporating our environment, and the social costs that can be attributed to our agricultural production. And his message, in a phrase? Some things are definitely going to need to change.