The GLP is committed to full transparency. Download and review our just-released 2019 Annual Report.

‘Land sparing’ or ‘land sharing’? More intensive agriculture better helps farmers fight climate change

| | August 10, 2018

Farmers face a growing dilemma …. How do you feed …. people without harming the environment? [G]rowing as much food as possible in a small area may be our best bet for sustainably feeding the [world] ….

Farmers who wish to minimize their carbon footprint have traditionally held two philosophies, says David Williams, the lead author of a paper published [recently] in the journal Current Biology.

“[L]and-sharing,” involves maximizing the amount of carbon stored on farmland. “[P]lanting trees in a field, or maintaining little patches of non-crop habitat on your farm,” explains Williams.

But land-sharing has a cost.

“You almost certainly lower your agricultural yields,” says Williams ….

The other philosophy for agricultural carbon mitigation called “land sparing” maximizes the per-acre yield without worrying about carbon storage.

Related article:  Afraid of GMOs? Thousands of studies, strict regulations show there's nothing to fear, farmer says

Since yields are higher, less land is needed to produce the same amount of food …. uncultivated land can then be preserved as natural habitat.

Williams …. wanted to know which strategy was best for storing carbon …. [his team] measured the amount of carbon stored in farms and natural areas from three agricultural regions in Mexico, Ghana, and Poland.

“We found that the least damaging strategy was the land-sparing strategy,” says Williams.

Read full, original article: Which Vision Of Farming Is Better For The Planet?

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Click the link above to read the full, original article.
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.

Send this to a friend