what is agricultural expansion


What is the main reason for agricultural expansion?

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What is Agri-agricultural expansion?

Agricultural expansion describes the growth of agricultural land (arable land, pastures, etc.) in the 21st century. The agricultural expansion is often explained as a direct consequence of the global increase in food and energy requirements due to the human overpopulation (which in turn has been attributed to agricultural expansion itself), with an estimated expectation of 10 to 11 …

Will agricultural areas continue to expand in the future?


Will the global footprint of agriculture increase in the future?


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What factors will limit the future expansion of agriculture?

Instead, other factors, such as energy prices, labor costs, water and land availability, and especially transportation networks, are more likely to determine the regional and local footprints of agriculture.

How has agriculture expanded in the tropics?

Technological advances are underpinning much agricultural expansion in the tropics. Improving medical technologies are increasingly allowing humans to colonize areas once plagued by diseases such as malaria, sleeping sickness, and river blindness 30, 31. Agricultural expansion is also being facilitated by improved crop and soil management practices that support higher yields in humid tropical areas, which tend to have acid-infertile soils and heavy pest pressure. Major expansion of soy into the Amazon is now possible because of new soy varieties better adapted to tropical photoperiods and copious use of lime, fertilizers, and pesticides to overcome soil and pest constraints [32]. Furthermore, up to half of the Amazon [33] and much of humid Equatorial Africa [34] could potentially support oil palm, which can grow well on acid-infertile tropical soils if adequate fertilizer is applied.

How will biofuels affect land use?

As agriculture expands, a key unknown is the degree to which biofuel production will influence land-use trends in the tropics. Under current technologies, bioethanol and biodiesel are among the few liquid fuels with high energy density that offer realistic alternatives to petroleum for the global transportation sector. If petroleum prices rise markedly in the future [49], then there could be great economic pressures to devote large land areas to biofuel-feedstock production–as much as 300 million ha by 2030, according to one estimate [21]. Biofuel production on anything approaching this scale could compete seriously with agriculture for available arable land 11, 22, driving up land prices, amplifying pressures for further land clearing [50], and increasing opportunity costs for nature conservation [51].

What will the world’s food demand be in 2050?

By 2050, global food needs are expected to rise by 70–110% 10, 16.

What will happen to tropical ecosystems in the future?

Tropical ecosystems will face even greater pressures in the future, especially from the expansion of agriculture 10, 11, 12. The global footprint of agriculture is already massive: cropland encompasses an area the size of South America, and grazing lands an additional area the size of Africa [13]. Yet pressures to increase food production in coming decades will be enormous. The global population exceeded 7 billion in 2011 and is projected to approach 11 billion by the end of this century, with the population of Africa nearly quadrupling [14]. Even now, nearly 1 billion people are undernourished [15]. Beyond feeding the growing populace and eliminating hunger, rising incomes in many developing nations mean that demands for meat and dairy products are also increasing. By 2050, global food needs are expected to rise by 70–110% 10, 16. Demands for bioenergy production and bio-feedstocks for industry could also increase sharply 17, 18. These growing needs must be met by agricultural systems increasingly stressed by climate change [19].

How does energy affect food prices?

Because intensive agriculture requires large amounts of energy, energy prices strongly influence food prices ( Figure I ). Modern farms are major consumers of fuel and electricity. In addition, the production of nitrogen-based fertilizers is energy demanding and their cost is strongly influenced by petroleum and natural gas prices [118]. Furthermore, lowland tropical soils, including vast expanses of the Amazon and Africa, are limited by phosphate, the minable stocks of which are declining and often located far from tropical agricultural regions 119, 120. Production, transportation, and application costs for phosphate will clearly rise with energy prices.

Where are the primary forests declining?

Shown are the remaining areas of modified and primary (old-growth) tropical and subtropical forests and woodlands in Sub-Saharan Africa, South and Southeast Asia, Central America including the Caribbean, South America, and Oceania. Modified forests and woodlands include those that have been selectively logged, are regenerating on formerly cleared lands, or were converted to tree plantations [estimates based on UN ( http://faostat.fao.org/faostat) statistics for 2010, augmented by data from relevant national experts].

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