Agricultural intensification and changes in cultivated areas, 1970–2005

Rudel, Tomas K.; Schneider, Laura; Uriarte, María; Turner, B. L.; De Fries, Ruth; Laurence, Deborah; Geoghehan, Jaqueline; Hecht, Susanna; IIckowitz, Amy; Lambin, Eric F.; Birkenholtz, Trevor; Baptista, Sandra; Grau, Hector Ricardo
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Published version
Does the intensification of agriculture reduce cultivated areas and, in so doing, spare some lands by concentrating production on other lands? Such sparing is important for many reasons, among them the enhanced abilities of released lands to sequester carbon and provide other environmental services. Difficulties measuring the extent of spared land make it impossible to investigate fully the hypothesized causal chain from agricultural intensification to declines in cultivated areas and then to increases in spared land. We analyze the historical circumstances in which rising yields have been accompanied by declines in cultivated areas, thereby leading to land-sparing. We use national-level United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization data on trends in cropland from 1970 –2005, with particular emphasis on the 1990 –2005 period, for 10 major crop types. Cropland has increased more slowly than population during this period, but paired increases in yields and declines in cropland occurred infrequently, both globally and nationally. Agricultural intensification was not generally accompanied by decline or stasis in cropland area at a national scale during this time period, except in countries with grain imports and conservation set-aside programs. Future projections of cropland abandonment and ensuing environmental services cannot be assumed without explicit policy intervention.
Fil: Rudel, Tomas K.. Rutgers University; Estados Unidos
Fil: Schneider, Laura. Rutgers University; Estados Unidos
Fil: Uriarte, María. Columbia University; Estados Unidos
Fil: Turner, B. L.. Arizona State University; Estados Unidos
Fil: De Fries, Ruth. University of Virginia; Estados Unidos
Fil: Laurence, Deborah. Columbia University; Estados Unidos
Fil: Geoghehan, Jaqueline. Clark University; Estados Unidos
Fil: Hecht, Susanna. University of California; Estados Unidos
Fil: IIckowitz, Amy. Clarks University; Estados Unidos
Fil: Lambin, Eric F.. Universite of Lovain; Bélgica
Fil: Birkenholtz, Trevor. Rutgers University; Estados Unidos
Fil: Baptista, Sandra. Universidad Nacional de Tucumán; Argentina
Fil: Grau, Hector Ricardo. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas. Centro Científico Tecnológico Conicet - Tucumán; Argentina
Forest transition
land sparing
land use change
Otras Ciencias Biológicas
Ciencias Biológicas
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Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas
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