Agricultural land systems importance for supporting food security and sustainable development goals: A systematic review

Elsevier, Science of the Total Environment, Volume 806, 1 February 2022
Viana C.M., Freire D., Abrantes P., Rocha J., Pereira P.

Agriculture provides the largest share of food supplies and ensures a critical number of ecosystem services (e.g., food provisioning). Therefore, agriculture is vital for food security and supports the Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) 2 (SDG 2 - zero hunger) as others SDG's. Several studies have been published in different world areas with different research directions focused on increasing food and nutritional security from an agricultural land system perspective. The heterogeneity of the agricultural research studies calls for an interdisciplinary and comprehensive systematization of the different research directions and the plethora of approaches, scales of analysis, and reference data used. Thus, this work aims to systematically review the contributions of the different agricultural research studies by systematizing the main research fields and present a synthesis of the diversity and scope of research and knowledge. From an initial search of 1151 articles, 260 meet the criteria to be used in the review. Our analysis revealed that most articles were published between 2015 and 2019 (59%), and most of the case studies were carried out in Asia (36%) and Africa (20%). The number of studies carried out in the other continents was lower. In the last 30 years, most of the research was centred in six main research fields: land-use changes (28%), agricultural efficiency (27%), climate change (16%), farmer's motivation (12%), urban and peri-urban agriculture (11%), and land suitability (7%). Overall, the research fields identified are directly or indirectly linked to 11 of the 17 SDGs. There are essential differences in the number of articles among research fields, and future efforts are needed in the ones that are less represented to support food security and the SDGs.