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The resource outlook to 2050: By how much do land, water use and crop yields need to increase by 2050?

Author: Jelle Bruinsma
Organisation: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Publish Date: June 2009
Country: Global
Sector: Agriculture
Method: Forecasting
Theme: Resource
Type: Other publication
Language: English
Tags: Agriculture, Food production, Natural resources, Population growth

The recent food crisis, characterized by sharp food price surges and in part caused by new demands on agriculture such as demand for biomass as feedstock in biofuel production (see Alexandratos, 2008), made fears that the world is running out of natural resources (foremost among them land and fresh water resources)come back with a vengeance (see for example Brown, 2009). Concerns are voiced that agriculture might in the not too distant future no longer be able to produce the food needed to feed a still growing world population at levels sufficient to lead a healthy and active life. Such fears are by no means new and keep continually coming back prompting a series of studies and
statements concerning the question how many people the earth can support. The continuing decline of arable land per person (Figure 1) is often cited as an indicator of impending problems. The underlying cause for such problems is perceived to be an ever increasing demand for agricultural products facing finite natural resources such as land, water and genetic potential. Scarcity of these resources would be compounded by competing demands for them originating in urbanization, industrial uses and use in biofuel production, by forces that would change their availability such as climate change and the need to preserve resources for future generations (environmentally responsible and sustainable use).
Located in: Resources
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