Sustainable intensification as a potential solution to improving agricultural productivity

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Terminology matters: “ecological intensification” means something very different from “sustainable intensification” among scientific experts.

Harvesting the Research: Ecological Intensification Can Feed The World

Food Tank spoke with Dr. Brian Petersen, co-author of a paper that examined expert views on sustainable intensification. Some environmental and agriculture scientists propose sustainable intensification as a potential solution to improving or maintaining agricultural productivity while minimizing harmful effects of agriculture on the natural environment.

The overall message: The biological and intensification components of sustainable intensification remain unclear to experts in the field, and the authors found that the term is not based on theory. Alternative concepts such as ecological intensification, which have a more theoretical basis, may be more useful.

The research: The authors interviewed 30 experts in fields related to sustainable intensification, examining their perceptions and definitions of the term. The research investigated whether experts believed that sustainable intensification represented a departure from business-as-usual agriculture or incremental improvements in the efficient use of land and natural resources.

Food Tank (FT): What are two key points of your paper? Why is your research relevant for the transition to sustainable agriculture?


Read the full article: Food Tank


Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.