Saturday, February 20, 2010: 10:30 AM-12:00 PM
Room 11A (San Diego Convention Center)Agriculture plays a crucial role in sustaining the health, nourishment and economy of the world’s population. At the same time, many agricultural practices can disturb the environment in ways that degrade the quality of our environment and natural resources –- including our climate, soils, waterways, and even the air we breathe. In the coming century, agriculture will be faced with enormous, global-scale challenges, arising from the need to provide food security, economic development, and sustainable environmental services to over 9 billion people. This will be happening at a time where other major global systems -- including our climate, freshwater, population, economic, and ecological systems -- will be stressed beyond any historic levels. Perhaps more than any other issue, how we manage global agriculture will define the success of our civilization in the 21st century. In this session, we will consider the future of global agriculture and ask three critical questions: How can we meet the growing demands for food, feed, and biofuels for a human population that is projected to reach over 9 billion in the coming decades? How will changes in the environment, including global climate change, affect our ability to meet these demands? How can we simultaneously meet our agricultural demands while maintaining a healthy and sustainable biosphere, rich with biodiversity and functioning ecosystem services?
Jonathan A. Foley, University of Minnesota
David Tilman, University of Minnesota