Document Detail


Closing yield gaps through nutrient and water management.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22932270     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Abstract/OtherAbstract:
In the coming decades, a crucial challenge for humanity will be meeting future food demands without undermining further the integrity of the Earth's environmental systems. Agricultural systems are already major forces of global environmental degradation, but population growth and increasing consumption of calorie- and meat-intensive diets are expected to roughly double human food demand by 2050 (ref. 3). Responding to these pressures, there is increasing focus on 'sustainable intensification' as a means to increase yields on underperforming landscapes while simultaneously decreasing the environmental impacts of agricultural systems. However, it is unclear what such efforts might entail for the future of global agricultural landscapes. Here we present a global-scale assessment of intensification prospects from closing 'yield gaps' (differences between observed yields and those attainable in a given region), the spatial patterns of agricultural management practices and yield limitation, and the management changes that may be necessary to achieve increased yields. We find that global yield variability is heavily controlled by fertilizer use, irrigation and climate. Large production increases (45% to 70% for most crops) are possible from closing yield gaps to 100% of attainable yields, and the changes to management practices that are needed to close yield gaps vary considerably by region and current intensity. Furthermore, we find that there are large opportunities to reduce the environmental impact of agriculture by eliminating nutrient overuse, while still allowing an approximately 30% increase in production of major cereals (maize, wheat and rice). Meeting the food security and sustainability challenges of the coming decades is possible, but will require considerable changes in nutrient and water management.
Authors:
Nathaniel D Mueller; James S Gerber; Matt Johnston; Deepak K Ray; Navin Ramankutty; Jonathan A Foley
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.     Date:  2012-08-29
Journal Detail:
Title:  Nature     Volume:  490     ISSN:  1476-4687     ISO Abbreviation:  Nature     Publication Date:  2012 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-10-12     Completed Date:  2012-11-06     Revised Date:  2013-02-22    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0410462     Medline TA:  Nature     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  254-7     Citation Subset:  IM    
Affiliation:
Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota 55108, USA. muell512@umn.edu
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MeSH Terms
Descriptor/Qualifier:
Agriculture / standards*,  trends*
Animals
Cereals
Environment
Food*
Food Supply / standards*
Humans
Population Growth
Water*
Chemical
Reg. No./Substance:
7732-18-5/Water
Comments/Corrections
Erratum In:
Nature. 2013 Feb 21;494(7437):390

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine


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