A sustainable food future will require reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture even as the world produces substantially more food. The production of rice, the staple crop for the majority of the world’s population, emits large quantities of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
As two of the 10 largest economies in the world, China and Brazil both face significant challenges from degraded lands.
A new long-term cooperation aims to learn from each others' experiences in landscape restoration.
A new report, Corn or Current? The Agro-Industrial Water Conflict, shows where conflicts between industry and agriculture for limited water supplies could be most severe. It reveals that $21 billion in U.S. electricity sales and $1.2 billion in farm products face water risks.
World Food Day is a day to take a close look at our global food system and see what's working, what's not, and what needs to change. Much of the emphasis around feeding the world tends to focus around increasing food production.
But just as important—and often left out of the conversation—is how we treat what’s already been produced.
In an article written for Johns Hopkins University Water Institute, WRI's Aqueduct team discuss why good data is needed to plan for water stress and a changing climate.
One of the most far-reaching of the commitments from the recent UN Climate Summit is the New York Declaration on Forests, which includes a plan restore 350 million hectares of degraded forest landscapes into productivity by 2030. While restoration holds great promise for many countries, this ambitious new target is especially important for Africa. As we’re already seeing, if done right, restoration could boost food and water security, improve livelihoods, and curb climate change in some of the most vulnerable regions on Earth.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
The world needs to close a 69 percent gap between the crops produced in 2006 and the crops the world is on a course to need by 2050.
Quantifiable indicators of the environmental sustainability of agriculture—by which we mean minimizing the environmental impacts of agriculture—are an important tool for helping move the world toward a sustainable food future.
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.”
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.
The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides over $5 billion annually in financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers to implement conservation practices that address resource concerns (e.g., water quality, wildlife ha
The U.S. Department of Agriculture could potentially spend part of its budget for water quality improvements seven to 12 times more cost effectively than it does now. A new WRI analysis shows how, explains why USDA isn’t already doing so, and proposes ways to make a complex policy a reality.
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.