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Title (Primary) More farms, less specialized landscapes, and higher crop diversity stabilize food supplies
Author Egli, L.; Mehrabi, Z.; Seppelt, R.;
Journal Environmental Research Letters
Year 2021
Department CLE; OESA;
Volume 16
Issue 5
Language englisch;
Keywords agroecology, climate variability, resilience, spatial heterogeneity, supply shocks
Abstract Theoretical and empirical studies show increased diversity in crops, supply chains, and markets, helps offset variability and shocks, and stabilize food systems. At the same time global commodity markets and industrial agriculture have driven homogenization of local and regional production systems, and consolidated power in fewer larger specialized farms and distributers. This is a global challenge, with no obvious global solutions. An important question therefore, is how individual countries can build their own resilience through maintaining or increasing diversity within their borders. Here we show, using farm level data from Germany, that spreading production risk by growing the same crops across different farms carries stabilizing benefits by allowing for increased spatiotemporal asynchrony within crops. We also find that increasing asynchrony between the year-to-year production of different crops has stabilizing effects on food supply. Importantly, the benefits of increasing crop diversity are lower in specialized landscapes growing the same crop on large patches. Our results illustrate clear benefits of diversified crops, producers, and agricultural landscapes to buffer against regional variability and shocks, which should be incorporated in subsidies and other regulatory measures.
ID 24450
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Egli, L., Mehrabi, Z., Seppelt, R. (2021):
More farms, less specialized landscapes, and higher crop diversity stabilize food supplies
Environ. Res. Lett. 16 (5), art. 055015