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Healthy ecosystems are the key to productive agriculture, says a new book, launched by CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems/IWMI and UNEP at World Water Week 2013.

The book Managing Water and Agroecosystems for Food Security, was launched at World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden in September 2013. It is published by the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (led by the International Water Management Institute/IWMI), in partnership with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

The situation in parts of the tropics exemplifies the complex linkages between ecosystems, water and food production. With pressure on farmland high, agriculture has expanded on to wooded land. The resulting loss of tree cover and compacted soil have reduced the infiltration of water and increased run-off, causing severe erosion and salinisation. In this way, degradation of the ecosystem has had a negative impact on water quality and flows. Such disruption means less water is available to support the ecosystem services that benefit agriculture, such as nurturing vegetation growth and underpinning the yields of edible plants, and so a downward spiral of decline has ensued.
In 11 chapters, the book’s authors investigate how we can stop such vicious cycles, and move from a position where the Earth’s ecosystems are degraded, and 870 million people are undernourished, to sustainably providing food for Earth’s future population.

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