USGS Presentation: Agricultural Intensification in the Yaqui Valley, Mexico: Will it "Save Land for Nature"?
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Western Region Colloquium
USGS Building 3 Auditorium, Menlo Park
Monday November 14, 3:15 PM (with coffee and cookies for sale at 3PM)
Live streaming video : mms://video.wr.usgs.gov/live
Agricultural Intensification in the Yaqui Valley, Mexico: Will it "Save Land for Nature"?.
Goldman Professor of Environmental Studies, Dean of the School of Earth Sciences, Stanford University
The world's population could grow by 2-3 billion or more before leveling off toward the end of the 21st century. If we are to feed this growing population and eliminate under-nourishment, dramatic increases in food production will be needed. Most agree that the best way to do this will be through increasing yields on land already under agriculture, rather than converting more land to agriculture, thereby "saving land for nature." Drawing on a case study of agricultural development in the Yaqui Valley, Sonora, Mexico (and using remote sensing analyses, biogeochemical measurements and modeling, and ground-based surveys), I will illustrate the relationships among intensive agricultural practices, expansion of land use, and biogeochemical transfers to ecosystems outside the agricultural area. I conclude that, at a regional scale, intensification is linked to off-site degradation and thus does not save land for nature. Conservation efforts instead must be done in coordination with knowledge intensive approaches in sustainable agriculture , and must recognize the various linkages between ecosystems on the landscape.