India is one of the Asian countries with the highest absolute growth of the urban population.
Photo: © MCC

06.01.2017

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Fertile farmland around the globe is eaten up mostly by rapid urbanisation. Scientists say that the food produced on that area would be enough to provide more than 300 million people with 2,500 calories per day for a whole year.

Due to rapid urban area expansion, some 300,000 square kilometres of particularly fertile cropland will be lost by 2030. This area of land is estimated to have accounted for nearly four per cent of the world-wide cultivation of food crops in 2000. These are results of a study led by the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), based in Berlin/Germany. A comparison underlines the relevance of the findings. The area lost to urbanisation would enable enough food to be produced to provide more than 300 million people with 2,500 calories per day – for an entire year.

The MCC study, entitled “Future urban land expansion and implications for global croplands” and authored by Christopher Bren d’Amour and Felix Creutzig together with other scientists, recently appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS). According to the study, global urbanisation will take place on agricultural land that is almost twice as fertile as the world average.

The study shows that the loss of cropland in Asia and Africa will be particularly severe.

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