20.01.2012

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Author: Carl-Albrecht Bartmer

Double the amount of food will have to be produced world-wide by 2050 compared to today, according to the latest estimates by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in order to meet rising population figures and demands.

Fertile agricultural production areas are becoming scarce, and, in particular, so are the factors determining their productiveness, such as water and nutrients. Mistakes made in the past resulting in salinisation, erosion and incrustation are jeopardising what used to be fertile locations. Finally, the effects of a shift in global climate that can no longer be denied are not only opening up new productive locations in the east and the north but are resulting in a considerable worsening of productivity in existing areas under cultivation through dry periods and the increased occurrence of other extreme weather incidents as well.

National reduction strategies are increasingly focusing on agricultural areas in order to keep climate changes at a manageable level. These areas are being viewed both as a natural emitter and also, in particular, as a biogenic energy and material alternative to previous fossil sources. Today, the world has a population of seven billion, and consumption demands are constantly rising. It is becoming apparent that this planet is using up more and more of its biotic and abiotic resources, which are the chief determinants of its future. Natural refuges for threatened species are putting further crucial demands on scarce terrestrial and aquatic areas.  

We are facing one of the great challenges of the 21st century, a challenge that we have to address today, for the time biological systems need to react, but also the innovation cycles for human development, naturally tend to be far too sluggish to be readjusted, as it were, case by case by a mere command or to be regenerated.

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