Quantifying Earth system interactions for sustainable food production via expert elicitation
Several safe boundaries of critical Earth system processes have already been crossed due to human perturbations; not accounting for their interactions may further narrow the safe operating space for humanity. Using expert knowledge elicitation, we explored interactions among seven variables representing Earth system processes relevant to food production, identifying many interactions little explored in Earth system literature.
We found that green water and land system change affect other Earth system processes strongly, while land, freshwater and ocean components of biosphere integrity are the most impacted by other Earth system processes, most notably blue water and biogeochemical flows. We also mapped a complex network of mechanisms mediating these interactions and created a future research prioritization scheme based on interaction strengths and existing knowledge gaps.
Our study improves the understanding of Earth system interactions, with sustainability implications including improved Earth system modelling and more explicit biophysical limits for future food production.
Research news | 2024-02-20
Having good neighbours and few top predators make predatory fish populations more resilient
A regime shift is gradually spreading through the archipelagos of the Swedish Baltic Sea coast, where shallow bays, previously dominated by pike and perch have one by one become dominated by one of their prey species, the three-spined stickleback.
Research news | 2024-02-08
Eating new plant-based foods can be good for the environment, your health and your economy
Replacing animal-source foods with plant-based alternatives or whole foods decreases environmental impact, meets nutrition recommendations, and can be cost-competitive with the current average Swedish diet
Research news | 2024-01-29
Bird AI and sailing drones – green game changers for marine ecosystems
Groups of guillemots on an island in the Baltic Sea have unknowingly inspired how marine research can be done. Two AI-powered research projects can change how to monitor marine ecosystems – and potentially manage them in real-time
Research news | 2024-01-24
Centralised social networks can hinder innovation by making decision-making too similar
Social systems where influence is centred around one or two individuals can lead to pack mentality and groupthink in farming communities
Research news | 2024-01-23
Planetary Commons: Fostering global cooperation to safeguard critical Earth system functions
We should look at tipping elements of the Earth system as global commons, argue researchers in a new paper published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Research news | 2024-01-22
Soy: A world journey from success to uncertainty
From a bean valued for its multitude of functions in ancient China to one of the most traded agricultural commodities of the modern world: the soybean has gone through dramatic changes throughout the millennia.