Land use puts huge pressure on Earth’s resources. Here’s what needs to change

Deforestation, intensive agriculture and rising urbanisation are all putting intense pressure on the Earth’s natural resources and resilience to climate change. But how exactly does the way we use land need to change if we are to take care of the planet and provide enough food and resources to sustain a growing population?
We asked six experts in land use for their thoughts on priorities for the future.

We need circular fertilisers – Professor Erik Meers, Ghent University, Belgium

After the Second World War, the increasing world population has made it more and more challenging to provide food security for everybody. Agriculture had to be intensified and production became dependent on hard-to-obtain chemical sources. That’s the case for the substances contained in fertilisers: for instance, nitrogen is extracted from the atmosphere with the help of fossil fuels, while phosphorous is found in rocks in China, the US, Africa and the Middle East.

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