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Food Systems and Natural Resources

image of Food Systems and Natural Resources

For thousands of years, nature has gracefully provided the necessary inputs to feed us, and we have in many occasions taken these precious gifts for granted. This report, “Food Systems and Natural Resources” is an effort to account for these inputs, looking at how we are using and managing them, the consequences of that management and the options to improve the efficiency with which they are managed.

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A food systems approach to natural resource use

This chapter provides background information on the use of natural resources as needed for food production, processing, retail and consumption, as well as the environmental impacts related to these activities. Food production is critically dependent on a large array of natural resources, such as land, fresh water, genetic resources and minerals. Many of these resources are in principle ‘renewable’ and, given proper management, can be used for centuries or more as they are naturally replenished or regenerated. When this is however not the case, the potential of these resources to provide a resilient basis for food systems, and notably food production, will be reduced, including lower crop yields, fish catches or livestock production. This intrinsically connects the issue of natural resource use to the food security challenge.

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