Guest essay by Eric Worrall
But stops short or demanding collectivisation under a central government climate planning authority.
New climate change report underscores the need to manage land for the short and long term
August 12, 2019 9.11pm AEST
Chris E. Forest Professor of Climate Dynamics, Pennsylvania State University
These changes are significantly adding to climate-warming emissions. They are also making forests and other natural systems, which can store key greenhouse gases, less able to do so.
For example, consider how humans produce food. Farmers are constrained by the climate where they live, which provides certain ranges of temperatures, precipitation and sunshine. Modern industrialized agriculture enables farmers to improve their local conditions by using fertilizer to increase soil nutrients or pumping water to irrigate crops.
These strategies pose trade-offs: They raise food production, but also can increase energy use or conversion of undeveloped land for more farming, which potentially contributes to climate change. Rising demands on Earth’s food, energy and water systems ultimately generate higher risks globally for everyone.
In contrast, strategies that make agriculture more climate-friendly – such as planting cover crops to protect bare fields or practicing no-till farming – have the potential to also save energy and water by making soil healthier. The challenge is finding ways to shift current farming and land use practices toward these more sustainable approaches.
The challenge, then, is convincing people to use land in ways that do more than maximize short-term benefits. As the IPCC report states, degraded land produces less food and stores less carbon. But conserving and restoring land so it can store more carbon will also improve food security.
…Read more: https://theconversation.com/new-climate-change-report-underscores-the-need-to-manage-land-for-the-short-and-long-term-121716
Farmers in my experience are very focussed on the long term viability of their land, in many cases the same family has managed the land for generations. The suggestion that farmers don’t prioritise long term productivity in my opinion is absurd.
But Professor Forest seems dissatisfied that farmers seek to maximise production, even if this means using fertiliser and fossil fuel guzzling agricultural machines.
If Professor Forest gets his way, in my opinion the result would be an agricultural disaster.
Food production is fragile; 20th century history is littered with examples of heavy handed political interference wrecking agricultural productivity in a single generation.
Any attempt to dispossess farmers either openly through land seizures or through the back door via rigid bureaucratic planning directives invites famine.