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Finding the balance: agriculture, biodiversity, and ecosystem services

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Global demand for food is rising rapidly and may as much as double by 2050. Satisfying even present-day demand has given rise to an agriculture sector that occupies 40% of global land area, emits one quarter of anthropogenic greenhouse gases, and is the primary driver of global biodiversity declines. How can we minimise the cost to biodiversity and ecosystem services of feeding a growing population?

Two alternative directions have been proposed to address the conflict between food production and biodiversity conservation: ‘land sharing’ which integrates both objectives on the same land through wildlife-friendly farming practices; and ‘land sparing’, where agriculture with the highest sustainable yield is used to minimise the area needed for farming, allowing natural habitats to be protected from future conversion, or restored on redundant farmland.

Claire Feniuk will introduce the theme of land sparing and land sharing, and will present preliminary results from Poland, where these two contrasting approaches have been compared in Europe for the first time.  

Anthony Lamb will outline a project investigating whether land sparing might be a beneficial strategy for climate change mitigation.

This talk is part of the Zoology Graduate Seminars series.

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