Solutions for a cultivated planet

Jonathan A. Foley, Navin Ramankutty, Kate A. Brauman, Emily S. Cassidy, James S. Gerber, Matt Johnston, Nathaniel D. Mueller, Christine O'Connell, Deepak K. Ray, Paul C. West, Christian Balzer, Elena M. Bennett, Stephen R. Carpenter, Jason Hill, Chad Monfreda, Stephen Polasky, Johan Rockström, John Sheehan, Stefan Siebert, David TilmanDavid P.M. Zaks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4885 Scopus citations


Increasing population and consumption are placing unprecedented demands on agriculture and natural resources. Today, approximately a billion people are chronically malnourished while our agricultural systems are concurrently degrading land, water, biodiversity and climate on a global scale. To meet the world's future food security and sustainability needs, food production must grow substantially while, at the same time, agriculture's environmental footprint must shrink dramatically. Here we analyse solutions to this dilemma, showing that tremendous progress could be made by halting agricultural expansion, closing ĝ€̃ yield gaps' on underperforming lands, increasing cropping efficiency, shifting diets and reducing waste. Together, these strategies could double food production while greatly reducing the environmental impacts of agriculture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-342
Number of pages6
Issue number7369
StatePublished - Oct 20 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements We are grateful for the support of NASA and the National Science Foundation. We also acknowledge the support of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, for convening a workshop onmeeting globalagriculturaldemandswhilestayingwithin the ‘planetary limits’. We thank C. Godfray and C. Prentice for comments on the manuscript. We also thank M. Hoff and S. Karnas for help with the manuscript and figures.


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