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Blog Posts: agriculture

  • 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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  • 7 Unexpected Places for Forest Landscape Restoration

    There is a tremendous amount of underutilized and unproductive land throughout the world that has the potential to provide valuable ecosystem services if trees are returned to the landscape.

    In collaboration with the University of Maryland and IUCN, and as part of the Global Partnership on Forest Landscape Restoration, WRI recently updated its Atlas of Forest Landscape Restoration Opportunities. We found that more than 2 billion hectares of land worldwide have the potential to be restored—and many of them are located in some unexpected places.

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  • Everything You Need to Know About Agricultural Emissions

    The Greenhouse Gas Protocol launched a new guidance this week to help agricultural companies measure and manage their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from crop and livestock production.

    But what exactly are agricultural emissions, and why is it important to manage them? Drawing on the latest research and data, here is everything you need to know about agriculture’s climate footprint.

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  • Tudo o que você precisa saber sobre emissões na agropecuária

    O GHG Protocol (sigla para Protocolo de Gases de Efeito Estufa em inglês) lançou novas diretrizes para auxiliar empresas agropecuárias a mensurarem e gerenciarem suas emissões de GEE na agricultura e na pecuária. São as primeiras diretrizes internacionais para o setor e irão ajudar nos esforços de mitigar seu impacto ambiental.

    Mas o que são exatamente estas emissões agropecuárias e por que é importante reduzi-las? Baseados no que há de mais recente em termos de pesquisa e de dados, aqui está tudo o que você precisa saber sobre a pegada de carbono na agropecuária.

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  • Restoration: It’s About More than Just the Trees

    Almost half of the world’s original forests have been cleared or degraded. So naturally, most people think of the “forest restoration” movement as an effort to re-plant these lost trees.

    But it’s time to see restoration as more than just the trees.

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  • Indonesian Fires Bring More Haze to Southeast Asia

    Clearing land for timber and agriculture is likely to blame for Indonesia's latest bout of fires. According to data from Global Forest Watch—a new online system that tracks tree cover change, fires, and other information in near-real time—roughly half of these fires are burning on land managed by oil palm, timber, and logging companies—despite the fact that using fire to clear land is illegal in Indonesia.

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  • Improving Food Security in the Sahel Is Difficult, but Achievable

    Experts recently said that 20 million people in Africa's Sahel will face hunger this year, requiring $2 billion in food aid. The question is: Can the Sahel cost-effectively and sustainably increase food production?

    The answer is yes—and we’re already learning from some farmer innovators on how to do so.

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  • 5 Things We Learned in 2013 that Could Move the Needle on Sustainability

    Two and a half millennia ago, Plato announced that “Human behavior flows from three things: desire, emotion, and knowledge.” Unfortunately, our human and corporate behavior on climate change is not even close to where it needs to be. But if the great philosopher was right (and he usually was), 2013 may have been a game changer.

    The big news from 2013 came from gains in knowledge. New tools and research are opening our understanding much wider than before. But will we act on this? Knowledge can spur action, but this path is not guaranteed.

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  • Overlapping Land and Natural Resource Rights Creates Conflict in Africa

    In much of Africa, the bundle of land rights that most rural people legally hold is relatively small—usually limited to surface rights and certain rights to some natural resources on and below the surface, such as rights to water for domestic use. Many high-value natural resources—such as oil, natural gas, minerals, and wildlife—are governed by separate legal regimes and administered by different public institutions. Africa’s governments often allocate these rights to outside, commonly foreign companies for large-scale operations. In other words, while many communities hold rights to the land, foreign companies hold the rights to the natural resources on or under the same plot. These overlapping rights oftentimes lead to conflict, unsustainable use of resources, and injustices.

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  • The Global Food Challenge Explained in 18 Graphics

    The world is projected to hold a whopping 9.6 billion people by 2050. Figuring out how to feed all these people—while also advancing rural development, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and protecting valuable ecosystems—is one of the greatest challenges of our era.

    So what’s causing the global food challenge, and how can the world solve it? We begin to answer these questions through a series of graphics below. For more information, check out the interim findings of Creating a Sustainable Food Future, a report produced by WRI, U.N. Environment Programme, U.N. Development Programme, and the World Bank.

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