How Can We Expand Farming While Preserving the Environment?

agricultural landAgricultural activity now dominates more than a third of the Earth’s landscape. Global populations are swelling, and thus farmers are cultivating more and more land in a desperate bid to keep pace with the ever-intensifying needs of humans. Agricultural has emerged as one of the central forces of global environmental change, say scientists at the Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

But, “the real question is: how can we continue to produce food from the land while preventing negative environmental consequences such as deforestation, water pollution and soil erosion?’ Navin Ramankutty, an assistant scientist at SAGE, enquires. Ramankutty and other SAGE researchers are tracking the changing patterns of agricultural land use around the world, to better understand that crucial trade-off. The researchers are at the lookout for related factors such as global crop yields and fertilizer use. The scientists have presented their early findings during this fall meeting (Dec. 5-9, 2005) of the American Geophysical Union. They have distilled that information into computer-generated maps, to present their early findings.

Via: Science Daily

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