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Sustainable intensification: A UK perspective

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jeremy Robert Franks



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


Sustainable intensification (SI) is a term that has increasingly been used to describe the agricultural production systems that will be needed to feed a growing global population whilst ensuring adequate ecosystem service provision. However, key definitions of SI support quite different approaches; a report published by the Royal Society (Baulcombe et al., 2009) favours the land sparing model whilst a Foresight report (2011) favours land sharing. SI will require pragmatic and innovative policies, including further revision of the Environmental Stewardship Scheme and the development of landscape-scale governance within an over-arching strategic approach to planning. However, its innovation is its focus on unlocking the social at the expense of the private value of land (at those locations where non-market ecosystem services have a higher value than marketable agricultural products). Though scientific advances may help raise production efficiency through a better understanding of the trade-offs between agricultural production and ecosystem service provision, issues related to who controls the use of land will be the most difficult to resolve, which suggests a role for Boundary Organisational Theory (BOT) because of the insights this theory lends to negotiating complex problems. Within BOT terminology SI can be considered a "boundary object" about which stakeholders are able to negotiate site-specific issues to incrementally arrive at solutions which draw on the full range of land sharing and land sparing options and so avoid prescriptive approaches and technologies. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Franks JR

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Food Policy

Year: 2014

Volume: 47

Pages: 71-80

Print publication date: 01/08/2014

Online publication date: 24/05/2014

Acceptance date: 27/04/2014

ISSN (print): 0306-9192

ISSN (electronic): 1873-5657

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.foodpol.2014.04.007