Long-term network research for the next agricultural revolution

TitleLong-term network research for the next agricultural revolution
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsBoughton EH, Bestelmeyer BT, Kleinman PJA, Moglen GE, Spiegal S., Tsegaye T.
JournalFrontiers in Ecology and the Environment
Date Published10/01/2021
ARIS Log Number383355
Keywordsagricultural revolution, agriculture, agriculture shapes, environment., food, livelihoods, Long-term network research, monetary resources, nutrition

Interwoven into society as a source of food, nutrition, livelihoods, and monetary resources, agriculture shapes and depends on the environment. Threats to modern agricultural landscapes include climate change, soil degradation, eutrophication, and loss of wildlife habitat. Farmers and ranchers are working to mitigate these threats within financial and social limitations, but new technologies and quantitative targets are essential to guide the transformation of modern agriculture (Hunter et al. 2017). Agriculture also faces increasing demands from growing populations, rising wealth, and concomitant changes in food preferences that impact the entire food system, from food production to food and waste distribution (Ramankutty et al. 2018). While the previous agricultural revolution focused primarily on increasing crop yields around the globe, the next agricultural revolution must maintain and/or increase production while conserving natural resources for future generations and improving human well-being (USDA 2020). There is a continued need for increasing yields in some areas of the world as an important strategy for addressing land pressures and reducing environmental costs (Jayne and Sanchez 2021). In the next agricultural revolution, novel sustainability strategies must become realized (Meynard et al. 2017) through adoption of individual practices or through transformation of entire food production systems, all in the context of rapid global change. The varied technologies required to achieve this goal are captured in the concept of “sustainable intensification” (Pretty 2018) and are central to the science goals of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA 2020).