Food security depends to a considerable extent on the use of land, water, and soils. The risk for food security due to unsustainable land use and soils is under-researched and under-valued. Food security will remain a problem for the world, increasingly so due to the existing drivers of change on the demand and supply side: increasing world population with changing tastes, increasing demand for biofuel and an increasing purchasing power for resource-intensive food products on one side, decreasing growth in agricultural productivity and decreasing opportunities for further land conversion (to agriculture) on the other side.
Climate change affects the complex and fragile relationships between drivers and adds further feedback effects, risks and volatility elements to them. The overall impact of these changes is an increasing competition for land. The role of soils in the process of climate change has been under-valued in comparison to other elements of the human-climate relationship, despite the large potential of soils as biological carbon sinks.
Scientists, economists, and policy analysts must come together to achieve a comprehensive assessment of the costs of soil and land degradation at the global scale.
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