Food Production

Aquatic foods are increasingly being recognized as having an important role to play in an environmentally sustainable and nutritionally sufficient food system. Proposals for increasing aquatic food production often center around species, environments, and ambitious hi-tech solutions that mainly will benefit the 16% of the global population living in high-income countries.
Food production on our planet is dominantly based on agricultural practices developed during stable Holocene climatic conditions. Although it is widely accepted that climate change perturbs these conditions, no systematic understanding exists on where and how the major risks for entering unprecedented conditions may occur. Here, we address this gap by introducing the concept of safe climatic space (SCS), which incorporates the decisive climatic factors of agricultural production: precipitation, temperature, and aridity.
The need to assess major infrastructure performance under a changing climate is widely recognized yet rarely practiced, particularly in rapidly growing African economies. Here, we consider high-stakes investments across the water, energy, and food sectors for two major river basins in a climate transition zone in Africa. We integrate detailed interpretation of observed and modeled climate-system behavior with hydrological modeling and decision-relevant performance metrics.
China is a key player in global production, consumption, and trade of seafood. Given this dominance, Chinese choices regarding what seafood to eat, and how and where to source it, are increasingly important—for China, and for the rest of the world. This perspective explores this issue using a transdisciplinary approach and discusses plausible trajectories and implications for assumptions of future modeling efforts and global environmental sustainability and seafood supply.
Producing food exerts pressures on the environment. Understanding the location and magnitude of food production is key to reducing the impacts of these pressures on nature and people. In this Perspective, Kuempel et al. outline an approach for integrating life cycle assessment and cumulative impact mapping data and methodologies to map the cumulative environmental pressure of food systems. The approach enables quantification of current and potential future environmental pressures, which are needed to reduce the net impact of feeding humanity.
Food exchange between human populations can mitigate the risk arising from variable food production. Networks of exchange vary according to context but tend to fall into a relatively small number of qualitatively different types, including altruism, reciprocity, and resource pooling. This apparent canalization raises the question of whether specific networks of food exchange exhibit features that allow them to persist in the longer term, and we address this question by using a model of food exchange among multiple populations.
Soil and water salinity and associated problems are a major challenge for global food production. Strategies to cope with salinity include a better understanding of the impacts of temporal and spatial dynamics of salinity on soil water balances vis-à-vis evapotranspiration (ET) and devising optimal irrigation schedules and efficient methods. Both steady state and transient models are now available for predicting salinity effects on reduction of crop growth and means for its optimization.
Elsevier, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Volume 34, February 2019
The emerging insects-as-food industry is increasingly promoted as a sustainable alternative to other animal protein production systems. However, the exact nature of its environmental benefits are uncertain because of the overwhelming lack of knowledge concerning almost every aspect of production: from suitable species, their housing and feed requirements, and potential for accidental release.
Elsevier, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Volume 34, February 2019
There is worldwide concern about the environmental costs of conventional intensification of agriculture. Growing evidence suggests that ecological intensification of mainstream farming can safeguard food production, with accompanying environmental benefits; however, the approach is rarely adopted by farmers. Our review of the evidence for replacing external inputs with ecosystem services shows that scientists tend to focus on processes (e.g., pollination) rather than outcomes (e.g., profits), and express benefits at spatio-temporal scales that are not always relevant to farmers.
The world food price crisis in 2007/08 has aroused worldwide attention to the global food price volatility and food self-sufficiency issues. This paper modelled the entire environment of food production and transaction from a holistic view by a Food-Energy-Water (FEW) nexus in order to reveal the hidden connections related to the food self-sufficiency issue, including the interdependencies of food production with its restraining factors (hybrid energy, hybrid water), other production sectors, and international exchanges.