Global assessment of agricultural system redesign for sustainable intensification

Pretty, Jules and Benton, Tim G. and Bharucha, Zareen Pervez and Dicks, Lynn V. and Flora, Cornelia Butler and Godfray, H. Charles J. and Goulson, Dave and Hartley, Sue and Lampkin, Nic and Morris, Carol and Pierzynski, Gary and Prasad, P.V. Vara and Reganold, John and Rockström, Johan and Smith, Pete and Thorne, Peter and Wratten, Steve (2018) Global assessment of agricultural system redesign for sustainable intensification. Nature Sustainability, 1 (8). pp. 441-446. ISSN 2398-9629

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Abstract

The sustainable intensification of agricultural systems offers synergistic opportunities for the co-production of agricultural and natural capital outcomes. Efficiency and substitution are steps towards sustainable intensification, but system redesign is essential to deliver optimum outcomes as ecological and economic conditions change. We show global progress towards sustainable intensification by farms and hectares, using seven sustainable intensification sub-types: integrated pest management, conservation agriculture, integrated crop and biodiversity, pasture and forage, trees, irrigation management and small or patch systems. From 47 sustainable intensification initiatives at scale (each >104 farms or hectares), we estimate 163 million farms (29% of all worldwide) have crossed a redesign threshold, practising forms of sustainable intensification on 453 Mha of agricultural land (9% of worldwide total). Key challenges include investment to integrate more forms of sustainable intensification in farming systems, creating agricultural knowledge economies and establishing policy measures to scale sustainable intensification further. We conclude that sustainable intensification may be approaching a tipping point where it could be transformative.

Item Type: Article
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Geography
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-018-0114-0
Depositing User: Eprints, Support
Date Deposited: 18 Sep 2018 08:14
Last Modified: 14 Feb 2019 04:30
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/55021

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