Articles (articles are listed by latest first)

Sustainable intensification

Professor Sir John Marsh
Summary There is the prospect of a global population of 9 billion by mid 21st Century. Rising real levels of income, growing constraints on food production from climate change and alternative land use together with an accelerating rate of consumption of non-renewable natural resources in all sectors are likely to restrict food production. This has led commentators to say that the only way to feed the future population is a move towards sustainable intensification. However, this is …


Editor’s Note

Dr Tina Barsby, Chief Executive Officer of the National Institute of Agricultural Botany & East Malling Research (NIAB EMR)  and a member of our Editorial Board of World Agriculture is awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for Services to agricultural science and biotechnology in her Majesty the Queen’s New Year’s Honours. The Editorial Board is delighted as the award is richly deserved.


The functions and sizes of the five carbon sinks on planet Earth and their relation to climate change. Part 3, temperate Deciduous Broad-leaved forests- do they have a role in global warming?

Dr David Frape
Summary The comparison of deciduous broad-leaved (DB) with coniferous evergreen (CE) forests, in respect of biodiversity and their effect on climate change, is restricted, as many published comparisons are made between these two forest types in different locations and latitudes. We have therefore compared each forest type with grassland in the same location to draw conclusions about their relative values at the latitudes of the UK- 50 o N-60 o N. The majority of forest carbon, …


Book review and comment. Robert Cook

Genetically Modified Organisms in Developing Countries: Risk analysis and Governance. Ed. Ademola A Adente, E Jane Morris and Denis J Murphy. Cambridge University Press, 2017; ISBN 978-1-107-15191-8, Hardback; DOI 10.1017/9781316585269.  Background Agricultural technology attracts emotional reactions from many groups of people who feel food should be pure and traditional, despite widespread adoption of technical advances in other aspects of life.  This is especially true in the case …


Crop Diversity for Human Nutrition and Health Benefits- I

A Comment by Professor Sir John Marshᵼ This paper draws attention to the important role of diversity in terms of human nutrition. The increased availability of a limited number of cereals has resulted in a situation in which a small number of crops provide most of the food most people eat. This has led to increasing concerns about human diets being energy rich but nutrient poor. Although satisfying hunger they lack some essential minerals and vitamins.  One approach to enrich diets is …


Crop Diversity for Human Nutrition and Health Benefits

Sayed Azam-Ali,
Susan Azam-Ali,
Professor Peter J. Gregory
Crops For the Future (CFF), Jalan Broga, 43500 Semenyih, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia Summary Alongside dramatic increases in crop production over the last 50 years, global food systems have become more dependent on a few major `staple’ crops - just three cereals now provide about 60% of plant-based human energy intake. There is compelling evidence that diverse diets that include fruits, vegetables, nuts and berries, as well as staples, are instrumental in optimising human …


Methods for Increasing Sustainability of Agro-ecosystems Based on the Ecological Footprint in China

Li Li,
Liang Long,
Zhao Guishen
(College of Resources and Environmental Sciences, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China) Abstract: Sustainability of agro-ecosystems plays an important role in regional ecological safety and food security. As an ecological accounting tool, the ecological footprint (EF) is widely adopted to assess the sustainability of a given region, nation or industrial sector. As a virtual area, the EF initially does not reflect the real ecological conditions of the home region. …


Ecological Footprint (EF) must not exceed its Biocapacity to ensure the sustainability of life!

Robert Cook,
Dr David Frape
Comment on Guishen et al. 1 Guishen et al. 1 demonstrate that Beijing City, which has a population of 27 million, has an ecological deficit equivalent to >24 Mha. Using the concept of global hectares (gha) as the area needed to support each hectare, they show that China is more sustainable than the rest of the world, as each hectare uses 1.74 ha of global resource, compared with an estimate for the world of 2.51 ha. These estimates include fuel and other forms of …


Biodiversity and renewable resources are essential to sustain the Earth

Robert Cook,
Dr David Frape
A comment on papers by Gregory et al . 2 and Guishen et al . 3 Two papers in this Issue concern world food resources from entirely different angles. Previously in this Journal Cook and Frape 1 examined the potential regional food production and related this to Man’s minimum nutrient requirements. They found that global food production at present was adequate when considered only as sources to meet the minimum dietary requirements for energy and protein, although there was a …


Systems, scientific strategy and sustainability

Professor Sir John Marsh
Much scientific effort is devoted to decompressing identified objects or phenomena into component pieces. This has given rise to technologies that act on quite small parts of a whole to produce significant changes within it. GM technology, revered or hated, provides a growing contemporary example. Such insights are immensely important but they only become effective within systems of which they are a part. There are multiple systems but two of them form the basis for the paper by Zhao, …


Professor Richards awarded prestigious Medal

Dr David Frape
Professor R. H. Richards, C.B.E, a long standing member of the Editorial Board of World Agriculture has been awarded the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons' Queen's Medal.  A renowned fish vet. Professor R. H. Richards, CBE,MA, Vet.MB, Ph.D, C.Biol, FRSB, FRSM, MRCVS, FRAgS, was is the recipient of this year’s Queen’s Medal, the highest honour the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) can bestow upon a veterinary surgeon. There have been only two previous recipients of this …


Obituary – Professor Sir John Marsh CBE, 1931-2017

Dr David Frape
Sir John died on the 30th September, 2017. Professor Sir John Marsh was one of a very small band of the World’s outstanding agricultural economists over the past thirty years.  In 2011 he was awarded the Royal Agricultural Society of England’s National Agricultural Award in recognition of a career that spanned more than 50 active years.  During this time, Sir John had a huge impact on the agricultural industry. He was Professor of Agricultural Economics and Management at the Universit…


Editor's note

Dr David Frape
This group of publications (#1714 to #1722) includes the sad news of the death of our good friend and colleague, Professor Sir John Marsh. John has been a constant source of inspiration to our group and has worked hard for our Journal from the first day in 2003, when the group commenced its activities, to the last. We are very pleased to record the achievement of Professor Randolph Richards, a colleague also on our Editorial Board, who has been awarded the Royal College of Veterinary …


Adapting Agriculture to Changing Climate in South Asia

Professor Pramod K Aggarwal,
Dr Arun Khatri-Chhetri
Associate Scientist, CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), Borlaug Institute of South Asia (BISA), International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT), New Delhi, 110012, India. 2 Regional Program Leader, CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), Borlaug Institute of South Asia (BISA), International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT), New Delhi, 110012, India. Summary …


Disposal of N waste during water deprivation in birds and bats

Dr David Frape
Note to readers of this editorial : tropical insectivorous bats are important for insect control! Would any reader who has a knowledge of the mechanisms of bat’s excretion of nitrogen waste or of N metabolism by bats, please comment to the editor of World Agriculture- we should be happy to publish any useful comments under your name. Water is the most critical nutrient for both plant and animal life- to maintain cellular osmotic pressure, for transport of metabolites and as the medium in …


Adapting Agriculture to Changing Climate in South Asia

Professor Sir John Marsh
The paper by Khatri-Chhetri and Aggrawal explores a range of approaches to cope with the problems of adaptation to climate change in S E Asia. Many of the adaptation strategies have relevance to agriculture in other areas. Understanding them and the forces that determine their application may prove critical in the ability of agriculture to cope with the changes that lie ahead, An issue that emerges is the importance of the structure of the food and agricultural sector in the applicati…


Editor’s comment on tropical bats and agriculture in a changing climate

Dr David Frape
This Issue considers the consequences of climate change in two quite different mammalian populations, caused by the growth of one of them in two most important world regions. Nevertheless, there is a vital connection between the bat and human population. Both these populations are affected by the destruction of tropical forests, as measured by the deducible effects on rainfall, ambient temperature, biodiversity and food supplies. The adoption of smart agricultural practices, …


Plastic film in agriculture and horticulture: risks and benefits

Robert Cook
The article by Professor Changrong Yan (1706) follows one we published in 2014 (1416) which addressed some of the challenges which this technology presents. Use of plastic film is certainly not new; it was used to establish maize in early trials in Britain in the 1970s and is widely used in Europe today, e.g. for early carrot production on sandy, dry land, for the same reasons as in China – warming of the soil under the film allows earlier and better crop establishment. This is …


The benefits and challenge of plastic film mulching in China

LI Zhen,
SUN Dongbao,
LIU Enke,
YAN Changrong,
Liu Qin,
Dr. He Wenqing
Abstract : Plastic film mulching has played an important role in Chinese agriculture owing to its effects on soil warming, moisture conservation and weed control. It has increased grain and cash crop yields by 20%–35% and 20%–60%, respectively. In 2014 plastic film covered 18.14 Mha and the amount of plastic film used reached 1.41 Mt. Despite the benefits of plastic film mulch technology, widespread use has generated large amounts of mulching plastic waste. This has …


Editor’s note on cotton

Dr David Frape
In the early 1950s the place of cotton in common use for clothes was being gradually supplanted by synthetic fibres produced from oil. In recent years cotton has regained its place owing very largely to technological developments in the agricultural sector. Moreover the number of countries producing cotton in large quantities has increased. Development has led to phenomenal increases in the yield/ha and in the fibre quality of that yield, and labour has been reduced by mechanisation. …