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Stevenson J.,CGIAR Independent Science and Partnership Council Secretariat | Villoria N.,Purdue University
Global Food Security | Year: 2014

The role of intensification in minimizing cropland and slowing deforestation is often disputed. We make a broad distinction between technology-induced and market-induced intensification. We find evidence at the local level that technical progress in a few cases may induce land expansion although much depends on where the technical change occurs (near the forest frontier or away from it) and the type of market (local or global). At a global level, technology-driven intensification is strongly land saving although deforestation in specific regions is likely to continue to occur. Market-driven intensification, however, is often a major cause of land expansion and deforestation especially for export commodities in times of high prices. Beyond land saving, the type of intensification matters a lot for environmental outcomes. Finally, technology-driven intensification by itself is unlikely to arrest deforestation unless accompanied by stronger governance of natural resources. © 2014 The Authors.

Stevenson J.R.,CGIAR Independent Science and Partnership Council Secretariat | Villoria N.,Purdue University | Byerlee D.,CGIAR Standing Panel on Impact Assessment | Kelley T.,CGIAR Independent Science and Partnership Council Secretariat | Maredia M.,Michigan State University
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | Year: 2013

New estimates of the impacts of germplasm improvement in the major staple crops between 1965 and 2004 on global land-cover change are presented, based on simulations carried out using a global economic model (Global Trade Analysis Project Agro- Ecological Zone), a multicommodity, multiregional computable general equilibrium model linked to a global spatially explicit database on land use. We estimate the impact of removing the gains in cereal productivity attributed to the widespread adoption of improved varieties in developing countries. Here, several different effects-higher yields, lower prices, higher land rents, and trade effects-have been incorporated in a single model of the impact of Green Revolution research (and subsequent advances in yields from crop germplasm improvement) on land-cover change. Our results generally support the Borlaug hypothesis that increases in cereal yields as a result of widespread adoption of improved crop germplasm have saved natural ecosystems from being converted to agriculture. However, this relationship is complex, and the net effect is of a much smaller magnitude than Borlaug proposed. We estimate that the total crop area in 2004 would have been between 17.9 and 26.7 million hectares larger in a world that had not benefited from crop germplasm improvement since 1965. Of these hectares, 12.0-17.7 million would have been in developing countries, displacing pastures and resulting in an estimated 2 million hectares of additional deforestation. However, the negative impacts of higher food prices on poverty and hunger under this scenario would likely have dwarfed the welfare effects of agricultural expansion.

Maredia M.K.,Michigan State University | Shankar B.,School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London | Kelley T.G.,CGIAR Independent Science and Partnership Council Secretariat | Stevenson J.R.,CGIAR Independent Science and Partnership Council Secretariat
Food Policy | Year: 2014

This article introduces a special section on impact assessment of agricultural research, institutional innovation and technology adoption. It is based on papers presented at a pre-conference workshop held at the International Conference of Agricultural Economists at Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil in August 2012. It briefly reviews the history of impact assessment of agricultural research and discusses the contributions made by each of the papers included in this section towards advancing the theory and practice of assessing the outcomes and impacts of agricultural research for development. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

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