Sustainable agricultural intensification?

Policy brief accompanying the Nature Sustainability paper Rasmussen et al. (2018) Social-ecological outcomes of agricultural intensification. Nature Sustainability 1, pp. 275-282, DOI: 10.1038/s41893-018-0070-8.

Sustainable agricultural intensification appears in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a key strategy for ending hunger (SDG2) and achieving sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems (SDG15). Yet, it is not clear whether such twin benefits – for both human wellbeing and ecosystems – are actually achieved, especially in low and middle-income countries. The bulk of research on agricultural intensification has a relatively narrow focus on specific subcomponents of either human wellbeing (e.g. income) or ecosystem services (e.g. biodiversity). Only recently has there been a growth in literature exploring outcomes for both well-being and ecosystems. We have synthesised this literature in order to learn from the emerging findings and develop a research and policy agenda to help define and support sustainable intensification