Global consequences of land use

Jonathan A. Foley, Ruth DeFries, Gregory P. Asner, Carol Barford, Gordon Bonan, Stephen R. Carpenter, F. Stuart Chapin, Michael T. Coe, Gretchen C. Daily, Holly K. Gibbs, Joseph H. Helkowski, Tracey Holloway, Erica A. Howard, Christopher J. Kucharik, Chad Monfreda, Jonathan A. Patz, I. Colin Prentice, Navin Ramankutty, Peter K. Snyder

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6860 Scopus citations

Abstract

Land use has generally been considered a local environmental issue, but it is becoming a force of global importance. Worldwide changes to forests, farmlands, waterways, and air are being driven by the need to provide food, fiber, water, and shelter to more than six billion people. Global croplands, pastures, plantations, and urban areas have expanded in recent decades, accompanied by large increases in energy, water, and fertilizer consumption, along with considerable losses of biodiversity. Such changes in land use have enabled humans to appropriate an increasing share of the planet's resources, but they also potentially undermine the capacity of ecosystems to sustain food production, maintain freshwater and forest resources, regulate climate and air quality, and ameliorate infectious diseases. We face the challenge of managing trade-offs between immediate human needs and maintaining the capacity of the biosphere to provide goods and services in the long term.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)570-574
Number of pages5
JournalScience
Volume309
Issue number5734
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 22 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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