Global assessment of agricultural system redesign for sustainable intensification

Pretty, Jules, Benton, Tim G, Bharucha, Zareen Pervez, Dicks, Lynn V, Flora, Cornelia Butler, Godfray, H Charles J, Goulson, Dave, Hartley, Susan, Lampkin, Nic, Morris, Carol, Pierzynski, Gary, Prasad, P V Vara, Reganold, John, Rockstrom, Johan, Smith, Pete, Thorne, Peter and Wratten, Steve (2018) Global assessment of agricultural system redesign for sustainable intensification. Nature Sustainability, 1 (8). pp. 441-446. ISSN 2398-9629

[img] PDF - Accepted Version
Download (688kB)


The sustainable intensification (SI) of agricultural systems offers synergistic opportunities for the co-production of agricultural and natural capital outcomes. Efficiency and Substitution are steps towards SI, but system Redesign is essential to deliver optimum outcomes as ecological and economic conditions change. We show global progress towards SI by farms and hectares, using seven SI sub-types: integrated pest management, conservation agriculture, integrated crop and biodiversity, pasture and forage, trees, irrigation management, and small/patch systems. From 47 SI initiatives at scale (each >104 farms or hectares), we estimate 163M farms (29% of all worldwide) have crossed a redesign threshold, practising forms of SI on 453Mha of agricultural land (9% of worldwide total). Key challenges include investing to integrate more forms of SI in farming systems, creating agricultural knowledge economies, and establishing policy measures to scale SI further. We conclude that SI may be approaching a tipping point where it could be transformative.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Evolution, Behaviour and Environment
Depositing User: David Goulson
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2018 09:10
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 13:01

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update