October 19, 2011
It’s estimated the global population will reach nine billion by the year 2050. With a billion people in the world are already malnourished there is concern about future food security and sustainability. An international team of scientists says there is a solution and have come up with a plan they say could feed billions of people without exhausting all of the world’s resources. The scientists say it can happen by transforming the global food system in the next 40 years toward a more sustainable model. The scientists five point plan includes strategic use of water and nutrients, reduced food waste, croplands that are dedicated to human food production and improved crop production.
Those are just some of the conclusions of a study published by the researchers in the journal Nature. The study says agriculture is the single leading cause behind global warming and loss of ecosystem services. The team of scientists used satellite maps and on-the-ground records to compile data about crop production and environmental impacts. The images showed tens of thousands of acres of acres of forests and grasslands disappearing and converted to cropland. Worldwide, 70 percent of grassland, 45 percent of deciduous forests and 27 percent of the tropical forests have been converted to agriculture. And more than a third of the world’s cropland is dedicated to growing feed for animals and biofuels.
The researchers say the strategies they are proposing could lead to 100 to 180 percent more food available for consumption while sustaining lakes, forests and soil. The study says devoting more cropland to human food consumption could boost calories produced per person by nearly 50 percent.