Designing our Future

Local Perspectives on Bioproduction, Ecosystems and Humanity

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This volume focuses primarily on society at the local and regional levels and on a scenario in which human beings coexist harmoniously with nature. This ideal society is examined in terms of the relationships between villages or towns and their natural environment. It also looks at how these villages and towns can achieve local or regional independence in the face of pressures toward centralization and globalization. This book highlights the importance of developing a society in harmony with nature through the networking of diverse communities to promote and achieve local independence.



Soil quality and sustainable land use

The global human population was under 1 billion in the middle of the eighteenth century; it was about 2.5 billion by the beginning of the twentieth century. It took only 40 years (1950–1990) for the population to double to 5 billion. It currently stands at 6.5 billion, and is estimated to stabilize at 10 billion in 2100 (Cohen, 2003). The unprecedented growth in human population since the eighteenth century has led to the accelerated consumption of resources, which is manifest in relatively high rates of agricultural output and food production, industrial development, energy production and urbanization. These human enterprises result in changes in local land use and land cover, which, when aggregated, affect different components of the Earth’s system. These include climate, hydrology, biogeochemistry, biodiversity and the ability of biological systems to support human needs (Foley et al., 2005; Sala et al., 2000).


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