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Abbas D.,Tennessee State University | Arnosti D.,Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
Journal of Sustainable Forestry | Year: 2013

Forest fires pose a great risk to nearby communities and dwellings. Many forest managers work to reduce such risks by managing fuels. This article explains the economic and logistical factors of a forest biomass utilization option instead of the conventional disposal method of on-site piling and burning for fuel reduction. Benefits from biomass utilization are multiple and include reduced impacts to air quality, improved forest health, economic opportunities, local renewable energy production, and climate change mitigation. Trials in the Superior National Forest examined the feasibility of using conventional equipment to extract and utilize forest biomass compared with disposal of biomass with pile and burn techniques. Factors that increase the costs of biomass utilization include: machinery down-time, distance to end users, low biomass price, size of the harvest unit, forwarding distance, the number of machines hauled to sites to complete small-sized operations, the modest amount of biomass removed per acre and applying prescriptions that were not designed for extraction logistics. Interviews with forest machine operators during and after the trials helped clarify factors and logistics considerations, which could be applied to help reduce the cost of future operations. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

Clapp J.,University of Waterloo | Murphy S.,Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
Global Policy | Year: 2013

When the G20 took up food security in 2010, many were optimistic that it could bring about positive change by addressing structural problems in commodity markets that were contributing to high and volatile food prices and exacerbating hungerIts members could tighten the regulation of agricultural commodity futures markets, support multilateral trade rules that would better reflect both importer and exporter needs, end renewable fuel targets that diverted land to biofuels production, and coordinate food reservesIn this article, we argue that although the G20 took on food security as a focus area, it missed an important opportunity and has shown that it is not the most appropriate forum for food security policyInstead of tackling the structural economic dimensions of food security, the G20 chose to promote smoothing and coping measures within the current global economic frameworkBy shifting the focus away from structural issues, the G20 has had a chilling effect on policy debates in other global food security forums, especially the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS)In addition, the G20 excludes the voices of the least developed countries and civil society, and lacks the expertise and capacity to implement its recommendations© 2013 University of Durham and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Wallinga D.,Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
Health Affairs | Year: 2010

For thirty-five years, U.S. agriculture has operated under a "cheap food" policy that spurred production of a few commodity crops, not fruit or vegetables, and thus of the calories from them. A key driver of childhood obesity is the consumption of excess calories, many from inexpensive, nutrient-poor snacks, sweets, and sweetened beverages made with fats and sugars derived from these policy-supported crops. Limiting or eliminating farm subsidies to commodity farmers is wrongly perceived as a quick fix to a complex agricultural system, evolved over decades, that promotes obesity. Yet this paper does set forth a series of policy recommendations that could help, including managing commodity crop oversupply and supporting farmers who produce more fruit and vegetables to build a healthier, more balanced agricultural policy. © 2010 Project HOPE-The People-to-People Health Foundation, Inc.

Loos J.,Luneburg University | Abson D.J.,Luneburg University | Chappell M.J.,Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy | Chappell M.J.,Washington State University | And 4 more authors.
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment | Year: 2014

In light of human population growth, global food insecurity is an escalating concern. To meet increasing demand for food, leading scientists have called for "sustainable intensification", defined as the process of enhancing agricultural yields with minimal environmental impact and without expanding the existing agricultural land base. We argue that this definition is inadequate to merit the term "sustainable", because it lacks engagement with established principles that are central to sustainability. Sustainable intensification is likely to fail in improving food security if it continues to focus narrowly on food production ahead of other equally or more important variables that influence food security. Sustainable solutions for food security must be holistic and must address issues such as food accessibility. Wider consideration of issues related to equitable distribution of food and individual empowerment in the intensification decision process (distributive and procedural justice) is needed to put meaning back into the term "sustainable intensification". © The Ecological Society of America.

Fischer J.,Luneburg University | Abson D.J.,Luneburg University | Butsic V.,Humboldt University of Berlin | Butsic V.,Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Central and Eastern Europe | And 8 more authors.
Conservation Letters | Year: 2014

To address the challenges of biodiversity conservation and commodity production, a framework has been proposed that distinguishes between the integration ("land sharing") and separation ("land sparing") of conservation and production. Controversy has arisen around this framework partly because many scholars have focused specifically on food production rather than more encompassing notions such as land scarcity or food security. Controversy further surrounds the practical value of partial trade-off analyses, the ways in which biodiversity should be quantified, and a series of scale effects that are not readily accounted for. We see key priorities for the future in (1) addressing these issues when using the existing framework, and (2) developing alternative, holistic ways to conceptualise challenges related to food, biodiversity, and land scarcity. © 2014 The Authors. Conservation Letters published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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