With COP-26 happening this week in Glasgow, it is a key time to think about the effect of climate change on our planet and what we can do about it. Extensive use of fossil fuels, land use change and deforestation combined with a rising population are all putting pressures on the delicate balance on Earth and we must act now to limit and reverse any damage.
Agriculture is intimately linked with the health of our environment. 50% of all habitable land on Earth is used for agriculture with 26% of greenhouse gases emitted through agricultural production. Yet risks associated with poor diets are the leading cause of death worldwide. With global populations due to excerd 9 billion by 2050, how can we provide enough food whilst also limiting and reversing the impact on the environment?
As part of my research at the University of Nottingham, some of the work I undertake has direct implications for a future under climate change. I am particularly interested in the sustainability and resilience of our agricultural systems to climate change and how we can adapt to reduce their susceptibility. This includes the selection of crop varieties that are better adapted to the environment in which they are grown or the conversion from industrial agriculture dominated by large-scale cultivation of a single crop (known as monocropping) to alternative systems incorporating multiple crops or trees such as intercropping or agroforestry.
You can read more about my research in this blog.