Not long ago, we reported on how, according to several specialists, population growth and the expansion of urban areas are bound to put significant amounts of strain on the natural resources we have at our disposal.
Moreover, a food crisis might be lurking just around the corner, as agricultural lands will simply find themselves unable to cope with ever-increasing demands.
However, a study just published in Nature
, an online journal dealing precisely which such issues, argues that it may in fact be possible to make it so that the crops we harvest every other season be enough to go around for everybody, provided that global agricultural practices focus on implementing better water and fertilizer management plans.
To put it bluntly: it could be possible to feed everybody living on the planet, regardless of how many people eventually come to inhabit it, without having to cut down forests in order to expand agricultural areas.
All we have to do is teach ourselves to make the most out of the lands we are presently using to grow crops.
As Nathaniel Muller from the University of Minnesota
explains, “We have often seen these two goals as a trade-off: We could either have more food, or a cleaner environment, not both. This study shows that doesn’t have to be the case.”
The team of researchers who investigated this issue makes a case of how global production of several crops could increase by as much as 45%-70%, provided that we learn to better control the nutrient inputs that these crops get.
“Meeting the food security and sustainability challenges of the coming decades is possible, but will require considerable changes in nutrient and water management,” reads the preview for this study.
Apparently, agricultural lands in Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia and South Asia are the ones that stand to yield the best of results once efforts are made to implement new crop growing policies.
Although it is true that further investigations are needed, as several other factors come into question when dealing with real life environmental conditions and not just with paper estimates, this study shows great promise with respect to how global agriculture will develop in the future.