Publication Abstracts

Hillel and Rosenzweig 2012

Hillel, D., and C. Rosenzweig, 2012: Agriculture and environment in a crowding and warming world. In Handbook of Climate Change and Agroecosystems: Global and Regional Aspects and Implications. D. Hillel and C. Rosenzweig, Eds., ICP Series on Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation, and Mitigation Vol. 2. Imperial College Press, pp. 3-10.

Of the world's land area and soils, only some 25% can be regarded as suitable for agriculture, the remainder having soils that are too dry or too wet, steep, rocky, cold, shallow, acidic, alkaline, or saline to permit the growing of crops. The actual arable land under cultivation (some 12%) is less than half of the potentially cultivable area, with an additional quarter used for grazing livestock (including areas of prairie, savanna, and scrub vegetation). However, any substantial expansion of cultivation would pose a severe threat to the remaining natural ecosystems and their biodiversity. Hence, to meet the requirements for food security, there is a need to intensify production and to do so sustainably — that is to say, without degrading the resource base of soil, water, and energy. This must be done without changing the climate for the worse, while adapting to its projected changes through the coming decades.

At the core of the problem lies the inexorably increasing requirement for agricultural products due to rising populations as well as to the universal desire to attain ever higher living standards. Consequently, our expansive population has been placing ever greater demands on the world's limited and vulnerable soil, water, and biotic resources. At the beginning of the 18th century, three centuries ago, the world's population totaled approximately 600 million. Since then, with infant mortality reduced and life expectancy prolonged, the population has increased more than tenfold. Although the fertility rate in many countries has been diminishing, the momentum of population growth still continues, due to the increased number of young people of fertile age and the prolonged life expectancy. World population is now projected to stabilize at some 9.3 billion by the middle decade of this century and reach 10.1 billion by 2100, but these are only projections, not certainties.

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BibTeX Citation

@inbook{hi04200b,
  author={Hillel, D. and Rosenzweig, C.},
  editor={Hillel, D. and Rosenzweig, C.},
  title={Agriculture and environment in a crowding and warming world},
  booktitle={Handbook of Climate Change and Agroecosystems: Global and Regional Aspects and Implications},
  year={2012},
  pages={3--10},
  publisher={Imperial College Press},
  address={London},
  series={ICP Series on Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation, and Mitigation Vol. 2},
}

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RIS Citation

TY  - CHAP
ID  - hi04200b
AU  - Hillel, D.
AU  - Rosenzweig, C.
ED  - Hillel, D.
ED  - Rosenzweig, C.
PY  - 2012
TI  - Agriculture and environment in a crowding and warming world
BT  - Handbook of Climate Change and Agroecosystems: Global and Regional Aspects and Implications
T3  - ICP Series on Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation, and Mitigation Vol. 2
SP  - 3
EP  - 10
PB  - Imperial College Press
CY  - London
ER  -

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