Climate change is mainly due to the increase of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. Industrial agriculture is partly responsible of atmospheric CO2 increase because industrial agriculture burns rapidly soil carbon, the ‘fridge’ that contains also nutrients for plants and other living organisms. Misuse of common resources has been well defined in the concept of The Tragedy of the Commons. The review article by Stavi and Lal emphasizes the relevance of this concept for agriculture. The article focuses on field crop production and livestock husbandry. Sustainable agriculture practices that sequester soil carbon are described.
Livestock farming is very popular but causes regularly issues of food security and pollution. The long-term viability of livestock farming is critical for animal health, farm income, animal welfare and the environment. Therefore methods to assess the sustainability of livestock farming are needed. In a review by Lebacq et al. three different methods are analysed: the method-based approach, objective-driven approach and data-driven approach.
Soil compaction is a major problem for farmers and soil scientists. Indeed soil compaction decreases the yield of most agronomic crops worldwide. The alteration of soil structure by compaction limits water filtration and air access, reduces root penetration and inhibits soil living organisms. Nawaz et al. review advances in understanding, quantification and prediction of the effects of soil compaction. Sustainable remedies are also given.
Ce site rassemble des billets rédigés à partir des travaux de recherche de la revue scientifique “Agronomy for Sustainable Development” c’est à dire en français l’agronomie pour le développement durable.
Les thèmes abordés sont les suivants : agroécologie, agriculture biologique, agriculture durable, agriculture urbaine, qualité des aliments et risque alimentaire, changement climatique, énergies renouvelables, biopesticides, impact des organismes génétiquement modifiés, lutte écologique contre les prédateurs, polluants, écotoxicologie, qualité de l’eau et de l’air, gestion écologique des sols, nouveaux systèmes agricoles, préservation des ressources naturelles, biogéochimie, aide à la décision, sociologie et économie des changements agricoles, animaux et environnement.
Climate change and pollution are increasing drought, salinity and heavy metal contamination in food crops, and, in turn, decrease yield and threaten food safety. Salinity is caused by an excess of NaCl in soils. Salinity is a major abiotic stress for plants over 800 million hectares of land worldwide. Lokhande et al. show that shoreline purslane (Sesuvium portulacastrum) can be used for sand-dune fixation, desalination and phytoremediation in coastal regions.
Life on earth is impossible without plants and other photosynthetic organisms. Plants are the most important living organisms for the ecosystem because plant harvest sun energy and, in turn, all other living organisms feed on plant directly or indirectly. Plants are used for food, fiber and most recently for fuel. Pollinisators such are bees are necessary for the reproduction and survival of many plant species, including plants for food. However, industrial agriculture and the use of pesticides have strongly declined bees and other insect pollinators. This bee decline has already decreased global food production. A review article by Nicholls and Altieri discusses in detail the problems of pollinators and how to solve this problem with novel farming practices.
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The 7 billion global population should grow to 9.2 billion by 2050. This increased population will increase by 70 % the demand for food production, notably due to new dietary habits in developing countries towards high quality food such as meat and milk. Additional agricultural land is limited. More agricultural land will be used to produce biofuel or fibre instead of food. Thus, we need to grow food on even less land, with less water, using less energy, fertiliser and pesticide. Popp et al. review worldwide crop losses due to pests, and advanced methods to reduce losses using chemical and biological methods.
Agricultural production is more and more unstable as a result of complex issues related to climate, markets and public policy. Farmers must therefore develop new farming systems adapted to changing conditions. For instance in south-western France, during summer, farmers increasingly move livestock from lower plains to high summer pastures in the Pyrenees mountains. This adaptation based on ancestral know-how is due to the increasing scarcity of herbage in lower plains in summer. Martin et al. review 41 new ideas for farming systems adapted to changing conditions.
Global warming forces agriculture to be productive under marginal conditions. However modern maize hybrids fail to meet this requirement. Although breeding has achieved spectacular progress in grain yield, yields at low plant population densities remain almost unchanged. Maize hybrids are indeed unable to take advantage of resource abundance at low populations. Consequently, the optimum population varies greatly across environments. Dr. Ioannis Tokatlidis reviews the consequences of climate change on crop sustainability under widely diverse environments, and proposes crop management strategies to address the situation.