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Effective Conservation ScienceData Not Dogma$
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Peter Kareiva, Michelle Marvier, and Brian Silliman

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198808978

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198808978.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 06 May 2021

Global agricultural expansion

Global agricultural expansion

The sky isn’t falling (yet)

(p.73) Chapter 11 Global agricultural expansion
Effective Conservation Science

Jonathan R. B. Fisher

Oxford University Press

This chapter asks whether evidence supports the widely held belief that land used for agriculture around the world has continued to rapidly expand via conversion of natural habitat in response to the demands created by recent human population growth. Contrary to conventional wisdom, global agricultural land use peaked in 1998 and has since declined. While habitat continues to be cleared for agriculture, on a global net basis, more agricultural land has been converted to other uses than vice versa. This analysis also found that national trends in agricultural expansion are driven by factors other than population growth. Although this does not mean agriculture is “sustainable,” these findings challenge the dominant narrative around global agricultural expansion and highlight other important issues that must be addressed. Looking at data at national and subnational scales is essential to understand the implications of global trends in agriculture, where improvements and interventions are most needed.

Keywords:   human population growth, land use, habitat conversion, agricultural expansion

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