OOS 29 - Land Sparing or Land Sharing? Different Visions for Producing Enough Food While Preserving Ecosystems In a Changing World

Wednesday, August 8, 2012: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
A105, Oregon Convention Center
Doug Gurian-Sherman, Union of Concerned Scientists
John Vandermeer, University of Michigan
Doug Gurian-Sherman, Union of Concerned Scientists
Negative externalities and degradation of finite resources caused by agriculture should be reversed. At the same time, growing global population, climate change, and changing demographics will make it harder to sustainably grow enough food on existing arable land. Two contrasting perspectives on sustainable food production are “land sparing” and “land sharing”. The former argues that intensifying production on current agricultural land, at the expense of biodiversity on that land, allows for preservation of more non-human ecosystems. The land sharing perspective argues that the agricultural environment itself has an important role in directly preserving biodiversity and ecosystem function. An alternative perspective acknowledges the dynamic interchange of various elements of the landscape, focusing not only on what happens within land categories, but especially on how various landscape categories interact with one another. This landscape or countryside focus emphasizes an integrated approach that includes not only local and regional ecological forces, but the socioeconomic factors that drive ecological changes within landscape categories. The land sparing and related approaches propose to improve sustainability and reduce negative externalities by making more efficient use of external inputs like fertilizers, while maintaining or increasing the yield of crop monocultures that occupy large contiguous areas. The land sharing and landscape perspectives place more emphasis on agroecological approaches such as long crop rotations or intercropping, cover crops, agroforestry, integration of livestock and crop production, cycling of nutrients, and hedgerows and woodlots as sources of useful biodiversity. Synthetic inputs such as pesticides and fertilizers are minimized. Local cultures are considered to be an integral part of the agroecosystem, and are part of any land-use planning process. These approaches encourage landscape diversity and biodiversity and the ability of crop fields to serve as high quality matrices for the movement and migrations of organisms to maintain biodiversity over the whole countryside. This organized oral session will consider the pros and cons of these various approaches to sustainable landscape structures that include agriculture. What are the data that can support a model that provides enough food, allows for its adequate distribution, and maintains or improves ecosystems, especially biodiversity? Where do we need more research to better understand these approaches and to improve them? Can these approaches exist side-by-side, and are they more or less appropriate for different regions? Can the best aspects of these systems be merged or are they largely mutually exclusive?
3:10 PM
3:20 PM
 Lessons from land sharing: Predicting and sustaining biodiversity in tropical countryside
Chase D. Mendenhall, Stanford University; Berry J. Brosi, Emory University; Gerardo Ceballos, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México; M. Claire Horner-Devine, University of Washington; Margaret M. Mayfield, The University of Queensland; Federico Oviedo Brenes, Organization for Tropical Studies; Taylor H. Ricketts, World Wildlife Fund; Paul R. Ehrlich, Stanford University; Gretchen C. Daily, Stanford University
3:40 PM
 Land sparing: It’s an economic question
Douglas H. Boucher, Union of Concerned Scientists
4:00 PM
 Biofuels on the landscape: Is land sharing preferable to land sparing?
Kristina J. Anderson-Teixeira, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute; Benjamin D. Duval, University of Illinois; Stephen P. Long, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Evan H. DeLucia, Institute for Genomic Biology
4:20 PM
 The global landscape: outlook on a worldwide forest transition
Christopher Pagnutti, University of Western Ontario and University of Guelph; Chris Bauch, University of Guelph and Princeton University; Madhur Anand, University of Guelph
4:40 PM
 Food safety farm practices: An emerging challenge for riparian and floodplain habitats and solutions from the Salinas River Valley, California
Sasha Gennet, The Nature Conservancy; Jeanette K. Howard, The Nature Conservancy; Mark Reynolds, The Nature Conservancy; Scott A. Morrison, The Nature Conservancy
See more of: Organized Oral Session