The State of Food and Agriculture 1989

World and regional reviews: Sustainable Development and Natural Resources Management

image of The State of Food and Agriculture 1989

In addition to the usual review of the recent world food and agriculture situation, each issue of The State of Food and Agriculture from 1957 has included one or more special studies of problems of longer-term interest. This year’s edition focuses on sustainable development and natural resources management.



The magnitude of the problem

Mankind has inherited a tremendous range of natural resources, notably some 3 billion years of species and ecosystem development, and soil and groundwater accumulations that have taken millenia to build up. Until about the beginning of the eighteenth century we had maintained much of this inheritance. A few species and ecosystems had been lost, and the soils in some areas damaged beyond repair, but these represented only a very small proportion of the total inheritance. During the past 200 years, however, and at an accelerating rate, we have been progressively destroying our inheritance and endangering the well-being of future generations. The destruction has global, regional, national and local dimensions which have recently been reviewed by FAO and are therefore treated here only selectively.


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