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Blog Posts: agriculture

  • 8 Percent of World's Remaining Pristine Forests Degraded Since 2000

    New analysis reveals that since 2000, more than 8 percent of the world’s Intact Forest Landscapes (IFLs) have been degraded—an area measuring 104 million hectares, or three times the size of Germany. In other words, human activities disturbed 20,000 hectares of pristine forest every day for the past 13 years.

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  • Securing Rights for People and the Climate in Africa

    The just concluded U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit focused attention on Africa’s promises and challenges, including energy, agriculture and the $14 billion in investment pledged by companies. The visiting heads of state—just shy of 50—also discussed climate change and its effects on crop production, nutrition and food security. New research by the World Resources Institute and Rights and Resources Initiative on the climate dividends of secure community land rights can help Africa address these challenges.

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  • Food Security and Climate Change in Africa: A Question of Political Will

    The solution to improving food security and resilience in Africa is no secret: all sectors need to work together to scale up climate-smart agriculture. What's needed now is political will to make that happen.

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  • A Farmer In Africa: Balancing Property Rights With National Needs

    Community land lies at the heart of rural life in Africa, so losing community rights to land can undermine livelihoods and trigger conflict. Most governments recognize customary tenure arrangements that establish communities' rights to land and natural resources, but few governments have the strong legislation needed to help communities protect the land they depend upon. A new video explains.

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  • The Difference One Tree Can Make

    Trees have become an iconic image of environmentalism, but that doesn't necessarily mean we should plant millions of them.

    While scale is important for landscape restoration, we need to reconsider quality and not just quantity. When does the presence of a tree really make a difference, and when is it neither an environmental or economical solution to a host of complex issues? What are the implications for food security, biodiversity and landscape protection?

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  • Renewing the Global Commitment to Crop Breeding

    In an article originally published for Devex, Tim Searchinger and Craig Hanson discuss a new World Resources Report publication, which finds that using the modern advances of genetics—such as DNA mapping—offers a great opportunity to increase crop yields while also protecting the environment.

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  • Closing the "Food Gap" Means Renewing the Global Commitment to Crop Breeding

    The world is on a path to need almost 70 percent more crops in 2050 than those it produced in 2006. To close that crop gap without large price increases or clearing more valuable forests and savannas, yields are going to have to grow 33 percent more in the next 44 years than they did in the last 44.

    Using advances in molecular biology to breed better crops can sustainably secure more of the global food supply.

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  • Wanted: Better Indicators of Agriculture's Environmental Impact

    How does the world feed more than 9 billion people in the year 2050 in a manner that not only advances economic development but also reduces agriculture’s impact on the environment? How will we know if we’re on the right path?

    WRI recently reviewed a number of existing indicators on the environmental sustainability of agriculture and identified gaps. Our analysis uncovers a need for improvements in indicators as well as the data underlying them—in particular, what we call the “3Ps, 5 themes, and 7 criteria.”

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  • 3 Myths and Facts about Forest and Landscape Restoration

    Reflecting on World Forest Week 2014, where the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN launched a Forest and Landscape Restoration Mechanism to help countries meet the Bonn Challenge to restore 150 million hectares of degraded and deforested lands by 2020, we need to further think about creating the rich landscapes that the world needs.

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  • Overcoming Barriers to USDA’s New Conservation Program

    For more than 30 years, the USDA has worked to reduce water pollution by offering farmers throughout the nation financial and technical help to put conservation measures in place. While these efforts have successfully addressed environmental problems at the individual farm level—such as soil erosion—agriculture remains a key source of water pollution.

    However, it’s only a small portion of farms that generate the majority of agriculture’s contribution to U.S. water pollution. New research shows that targeting conservation funds to these farms with the most potential to reduce pollution could be up to 12 times more cost effective than the usual practice of disbursing funds widely. And encouragingly, a new USDA program aims to capitalize on a similar targeted approach.

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