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Type: Journal article
Title: Transformative optimisation of agricultural land use to meet future food demands
Author: Koh, L.
Koellner, T.
Ghazoul, J.
Citation: PeerJ, 2013; 1(1):e188-1-e188-10
Publisher: PeerJ
Issue Date: 2013
ISSN: 2167-8359
Statement of
Lian Pin Koh, Thomas Koellner and Jaboury Ghazoul
Abstract: The human population is expected to reach ∼9 billion by 2050. The ensuing demands for water, food and energy would intensify land-use conflicts and exacerbate environmental impacts. Therefore we urgently need to reconcile our growing consumptive needs with environmental protection. Here, we explore the potential of a land-use optimisation strategy to increase global agricultural production on two major groups of crops: cereals and oilseeds. We implemented a spatially-explicit computer simulation model across 173 countries based on the following algorithm: on any cropland, always produce the most productive crop given all other crops currently being produced locally and the site-specific biophysical, economic and technological constraints to production. Globally, this strategy resulted in net increases in annual production of cereal and oilseed crops from 1.9 billion to 2.9 billion tons (46%), and from 427 million to 481 million tons (13%), respectively, without any change in total land area harvested for cereals or oilseeds. This thought experiment demonstrates that, in theory, more optimal use of existing farmlands could help meet future crop demands. In practice there might be cultural, social and institutional barriers that limit the full realisation of this theoretical potential. Nevertheless, these constraints have to be weighed against the consequences of not producing enough food, particularly in regions already facing food shortages.
Keywords: Food security; Deforestation; Climate change; Conservation; Development; Biodiversity; Livelihoods; Cereal; Oilseed; Yield intensification
Rights: © 2013 Koh et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
DOI: 10.7717/peerj.188
Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest 7
Ecology, Evolution and Landscape Science publications

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