Environmental Sustainability

One of the outcomes of global food systems impacts environmental sustainability. A goal of food system activities is to deliver environmental sustainability. These outcomes in turn influence the food system drivers.

This section presents selected data on environmental sustainability as a result of food system activities.

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Change in Forest Cover

Intensive and extensive food production systems lead to an over-exploitation of renewable resources. This further effects not only food production, but other related ecosystem services. The reduction in forest cover, partly because of demographic and agricultural expansion is particularly worrying in LICs and LMICs.

Source: Bendjebbar Pauline, Bricas Nicolas, Giordano Thierry, 2019. Food systems at risk. A scientific handout for the High Level Event of the Global Network against Food Crises: Food & Agriculture in times of crisis, Brussels, 2-3 April 2019. 48 p.

Soil Degradation

Soil degradation has been accelerated in the past few decades because of increasing urbanization, industrialization, pollution, and intensive application of synthetic chemicals.

Source: Bendjebbar Pauline, Bricas Nicolas, Giordano Thierry, 2019. Food systems at risk. A scientific handout for the High Level Event of the Global Network against Food Crises: Food & Agriculture in times of crisis, Brussels, 2-3 April 2019. 48 p.

Global Spread of Pests and Pathogens

Plant pests and diseases world wide has worsened over time with about 10% of major plant and pest and diseases having infested half of the countries they could have infested.

Source: FAO. 2017. The future of food and agriculture – Trends and challenges. Rome.


Agricultural and Forest Land Use

Despite the global loss in forest cover, agricultural expansion has stabilized.

Source: FAO. 2017. The future of food and agriculture – Trends and challenges. Rome.