Nature-based Solutions in agriculture are a critical solution for positive change. Farmers, ranchers, and food producers are on the frontlines of climate change, and play an important role in developing and implementing solutions. Climate and biodiversity actors are increasingly seeing agriculture as a central solution set and they are engaging the agricultural community to solve our collective challenges. When deployed properly, Nature-based Solutions can provide a triple benefit: improving the productivity and resilience of agriculture, mitigating and adapting to climate change, and enhancing nature and biodiversity.
FAO and The Nature Conservancy collaborated to explore the potential of Nature-based Solutions (NbS) in the much-needed transformation of our food systems, delivering nutrition for people while restoring nature and the climate. This collaboration has generated three reports addressing NbS in agricultural production systems:
- Literature review:
(FAO (2021) Nature-based solutions in agriculture: Sustainable management and conservation of land, water and biodiversity 68 pages
FAO and TNC (2021) Nature-based solutions in agriculture: The case and pathway for adoption, 53 pages
Food system demands have increased exponentially in recent decades and are estimated to continue growing as global populations increase and economic affluence expands. However, the very foundation of a productive system – healthy lands and soils and clean water supply – is already under immense pressure. In fact, by the most credible estimates, up to 52% of global agricultural lands are now moderately to severely degraded, with millions of hectares per year degrading to the point they are abandoned by the land manager. The loss of productive land, coupled with increased food demand, pushes agriculture to be the primary driver in 80% of native habitat loss. Agricultural irrigation is driving the majority of water scarcity issues in high-risk basins threatening food systems, community water supplies and ecosystem health. These pressures have resulted in the global agriculture sector driving more biodiversity loss, destruction of natural habitat, soil degradation and depletion of natural resources around the world than any other industry.
FAO and TNC (2021) Nature-based solutions in agriculture: Project design for securing investment 68 pages
Today, the global food system drives a ten trillion-dollar economy that connects 7.5 billion consumers and a diverse array of more than 1 billion food producers (farmers, ranchers, pastoralists, and fish harvesters). Approximately one-half of the world’s habitable lands are used for agriculture (Ritchie, 2019). Not surprisingly,
the food production system has a massive impact on our planet. As we look to the future, global food demand is set to increase 50%, including a 70% increase in protein demand by 2050 (OECD and FAO, 2018). Any solution to our challenges around climate, conservation and human well-being will need to involve a transition in the way we produce food and fiber. Agriculture can begin to use Nature-based Solutions (NbS) to reduce environmental impacts and, in some cases, enhance agricultural productivity. But in order to realize the full potential of Ag NbS to have a positive impact on these problems, we need new ways to fund them that are commensurate with the scale of the opportunities.
Join us to learn how Agriculture Nature-Based Solutions can help us to address climate change and conserve land, water and biodiversity!