Feeding a growing global population while also slowing or reversing global deforestation may only be possible if agricultural yields rise and/or per capita food consumption declines over the next century, according to historic global food consumption and land use trends. Published October 9, 2013, in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Chris Pagnutti, Chris Bauch, and Madhur Anand from the University of Guelph, this research underscores the long-term challenge of feeding everyone while still conserving natural habitat.
Based on historic trends that show growing food consumption outpacing rising agricultural yields, global forest cover is predicted to decline about 10% further, stabilizing at roughly 22% forest cover over the next century. Unless new technological advances increase yields, or strategies to decrease food consumption are introduced, a switch to global reforestation remains unlikely. Under an alternative scenario where food production and consumption stabilize, reforestation could increase global forest cover to about 35% if it occurs within the next 70 years. Additionally, researchers found that short-term trends in reforestation, deforestation, and abandoned agricultural land may play a role in understanding long-term forest trends.
Read more at: Phys.org