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Nature 418, 671-677 (8 August 2002) | doi:10.1038/nature01014

Agricultural sustainability and intensive production practices

David Tilman1, Kenneth G. Cassman3, Pamela A. Matson4,5, Rosamond Naylor5 & Stephen Polasky2

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A doubling in global food demand projected for the next 50 years poses huge challenges for the sustainability both of food production and of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and the services they provide to society. Agriculturalists are the principal managers of global useable lands and will shape, perhaps irreversibly, the surface of the Earth in the coming decades. New incentives and policies for ensuring the sustainability of agriculture and ecosystem services will be crucial if we are to meet the demands of improving yields without compromising environmental integrity or public health.

  1. Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, University of Minnesota, St Paul, Minnesota 55108, USA
  2. Department of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota, St Paul, Minnesota 55108, USA
  3. Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska 68583, USA
  4. Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA
  5. Center for Environmental Science and Policy, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA

Correspondence to: David Tilman1 (e-mail: Email: tilman@umn.edu)