Chief Editors Ole Mertz and Patrick Meyfroidt lead Land, Livelihoods and Food Security section

by Carolina Feijao

Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems announces the launch of a new specialty section on Land, Livelihoods & Food Security. Chief Editors Ole Mertz of the University of Copenhagen and Patrick Meyfroidt of the Université Catholique de Louvain bring their interdisciplinary expertise on the interconnections between food and land systems, as well as on the environmental and social consequences of land use change, to shape the specialty section into a key reference for all stakeholders in food sustainability.

Why is this new specialty section so important?

Ole Mertz, Chief Editor of Land, Livelihoods and Food Security in Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems

Ole Mertz

“Land is central to food production, yet as the world is urbanizing, many of us are far removed from where food is produced,” states Ole Mertz.

“Scientific focus on how we can ensure food security while at the same time maintain sustainable livelihoods for producers of food and their land resources is therefore particularly important, especially given the increasing social and environmental pressures on land.”

Patrick Meyfroidt, Chief Editor of Land, Livelihoods and Food Security in Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems

Patrick Meyfroidt

Patrick Meyfroidt adds “Food is a fundamental aspect of human life, not only in the physical sense but also in the cultural, psychological, relational and emotional sense. In the same way, physically engaging with land and the environment for productive activities such as land use for food production is also a fundamental aspect of the human experience.”

How can we tackle the challenge of food security for all?

Patrick Meyfroidt explains “Any solutions to address the challenges of food systems need to consider the relations between land and people who live off the land, beyond the broad sustainability aspects and the issues of food demand, security and consumption.”

Ole Mertz adds “Studying land systems and sustainable food production requires a high degree of interdisciplinarity. This has been on the agenda for decades, but there are still strong epistemological barriers to achieving true interdisciplinary science. A better understanding of how to improve the sustainability of food systems cannot be solved by the social sciences or natural sciences alone or in parallel — collaboration is needed to ask the right questions and find the right solutions.”

With the advent of globalization, food supply chains have overcome geographic borders and food security needs the full engagement of an international community of stakeholders, especially scientists, researchers and policy makers. Land remains a primary source of global food production, as well as a key socio-economic platform for local livelihoods. In a global change scenario with increased pressure on land resources, the future of land use requires a holistic assessment of the trade-offs between human wellbeing and ecosystem services.

The Land, Livelihoods & Food Security section, led by  Ole Mertz and Patrick Meyfroidt, aims to tackle this challenge by publishing high-quality and interdisciplinary research on the relationships between land use change, livelihoods and food security.

The Land, Livelihoods & Food Security section is now open for high-quality article submissions and welcomes Research Topic proposals.

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Frontiers journals have some of the highest citation rates. Among the world’s 20 largest publishers in 2017, Frontiers ranks 4th most-cited with an average of 3.65 citations per article.  In total, Frontiers articles have received more than 700,000 citations to date.