We discuss and comment on the role agriculture will play in the containment of the CO2 problem and address protocols for terraforming the planet Earth.
A model farm template is imagined as the central methodology. A broad range of timely science news and other topics of interest are commented on.
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Global Efficiency Catchup will Double Food Supplies
Fundamentally our own work here on this blog has clearly shown that
it is possible to be input neutral whatever the productivity, mostly
with biochar and accessing atmospheric water to avoid working with
surface water if necessary. Bio-char is profoundly practical and
only needs the will and that is coming. Atmospheric water takes
progressive development but is doable now just for demonstration.
Once achieved, every somewhat flat piece of dirt will produce
Solving those two problems opens up all tropical soils and all arid
lands to agricultural usage. That alone is likely good enough for a
ten fold increase in direct food production.
Yet just applying what we already do better is good enough to double
our production. Since the globe is shifting nicely into modernism
which can be pretty well completed by 2050, capital will also be
readily available to support every idea here and a lot more.
Study offers new
hope for increasing global food production, reducing environmental
impact of agriculture
many parts of the world, particularly Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan
Africa, East Asia, and South Asia, agricultural lands produce far
less food than they could with good nutrient and water management.
Can we have enough to
eat and a healthy environment, too? Yes-if we're smart about it,
suggests a study published in Nature this week by a team of
researchers from the University of Minnesota and McGill University in
Global demand for food
is expected to double by 2050 due to population growth and increased
standards of living. To meet this demand, it is often assumed we will
need to expand the environmental burden of agriculture. The paper,
based on analysis of agricultural data gathered from around the
world, offers hope that with more strategic use of fertilizer and
water, we could not only dramatically boost global crop yield, but
also reduce the adverse environmental impact of agriculture.
"We have often
seen these two goals as a trade-off: We could either have more food,
or a cleaner environment, not both," says lead author Nathaniel
Mueller, a researcher with the University of Minnesota's Institute on
the Environment and a doctoral student in the College of Food,
Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. "This study shows
that doesn't have to be the case."
Mueller and colleagues
used management and yield data for 17 major crops to take a
big-picture look at how much water and nutrients it would take to
bring underperforming farmlands to meet their food production
potential. They also looked for places where fertilizer use could be
cut down without substantially reducing crop yield. They found:
We could boost
production 45 to 70 percent for most crops. The greatest
opportunities for yield improvement are found in Eastern Europe,
sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia, and South Asia.
Different inputs serve
as limiting factors depending on the region and crop. Nutrients, for
example, appear to be limiting corn production in Eastern Europe and
West Africa and wheat production in Eastern Europe, while nutrients
and water appear to limit rice production in Southeast Asia.
Worldwide, we could
decrease nitrogen use 28 percent and phosphorus use 38 percent
without adversely affecting yields for corn, wheat and rice. China
stands out as a hot spot of nutrient overuse, but other areas, like
the United States, Western Europe, and India, also have room to
redistribution of nutrient inputs, we could bring underperforming
lands worldwide to 75 percent of their production potential while
only increasing global nitrogen use 9 percent and potassium use 34
percent-and reducing phosphorus use 2 percent.
researchers caution that their analysis is at a coarse scale and that
many other factors, including land characteristics, use
of organic fertilizers, economics, geopolitics, water
availability and climate change will influence actual gains in crop
production and reductions in adverse environmental impacts.
Nevertheless, they are
encouraged by the strong indication that closing the "yield gap"
on underperforming lands-previously identified as one of five
promising points for meeting future food needs, along with halting
farmland expansion in the tropics, using agricultural inputs more
strategically, shifting diets and reducing food waste-holds great
promise for sustainably boosting food security.
show that substantial gains are indeed possible from closing the
yield gap-and combining these efforts with improved management of
existing lands can potentially reduce agriculture's environmental
impact," Mueller says. "They also offer concrete
suggestions as to where and how we can focus future efforts.
This work should serve
as a source of great encouragement and motivation for those working
to feed the 9-billion-plus people anticipated to live on this planet
in 2050 while protecting Earth's indispensible life support systems."