Feeding a rapidly expanding human population will require a large increase in the supply of agricultural products during the coming decades. This may lead to the transformation of many landscapes from natural vegetation cover to agricultural land use, unless increases in crop yields reduce the need for new farmland. Here, we assess the evidence that past increases in agricultural yield have spared land for wild nature. We investigated the relationship between the change in the combined energy yield of the 23 most energetically important food crops over the period 1979–1999 and the change in per capita cropland area for 124 countries over the same period.
Our results show that land-sparing is a weak process that occurs under a limited set of circumstances, but that it can have positive outcomes for the conservation of wild nature.Resource Type: Journal Papers
While developed countries control most of the world's financial resources, it is the developing world that is home to most of its biological resources. This study provides an overview of the extent to which industry in the developed world relies on the biodiversity of the developing world. The first section of the report reviews the direct consumptive use, with fisheries and forestry the largest components. The remaining chapters examine two specific industrial inputs where biodiversity serves as an information source: the use of wild genetic resources in plant breeding and the use of substances derived from the wild in the pharmaceutical industry. The project was funded under the UK Government Darwin Initiative.Resource Type: Reports
This report has gathered lessons that have been learned since these events that will be relevant to future management of the coasts in the context of severe weather events and other potential consequences of global warming. More than ever it is essential to consider the full value of ecosystem services - that is the benefits that people derive from ecosystems - when making decisions about coastal development.Resource Type: Reports
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