This section welcomes high-quality and original contributions from across disciplines that assess the costs, benefits and risks for developing sustainable food systems, their reliance on natural capital and ecosystem services, and the interventions needed to put agriculture on a more sustainable path.
There is no doubt that agriculture needs to become more productive in the future, in terms of both quantity and quality, if food security is to be delivered in the face of changing demographics. Yet agriculture should ideally deliver environmental and socio-economic benefits, to avoid breaching our planetary boundaries. This challenge is termed ‘Sustainable Intensification’ (SI). There are many possible routes to SI, ranging from increased reliance on technology, data analytics and robotics, through to increased reliance on complex land management and increased reliance on biodiversity of ecological processes. All fundamentally depend on ecological processes, and deliver a wide range of ecosystem services and, potentially, dis-services. All depend on the maintenance of natural capital, especially in the soil, to continue to deliver. But which approach might be more appropriate under particular circumstances, and can any of them deliver food security, social justice and environmental quality for all?
Sustainable Intensification and Ecosystem Services is a Speciality Section on Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems for publishing pioneering and innovative peer-reviewed articles that will build the evidence base for appropriate and effective SI of all farming systems, including smallholder, commodity cropping, urban food production and aquaculture. We welcome high quality and original contributions that quantify the various costs, benefits and risks of different pathways to developing sustainable food systems, their reliance on natural capital and ecosystem services, and the interventions needed to put agriculture on a more sustainable path. Interdisciplinary studies that identify constraints, thresholds and opportunities for enhancing levels of sustainability and production are particularly welcome, as are studies that balance potential positive and / or negative impacts across scales of space and time.
Indexed in: Google Scholar, CrossRef, CLOCKSS
PMCID: coming soon for all published articles