Land-use intensification in agrarian landscapes is seen as a key strategy to simultaneously feed humanity and use ecosystems sustainably, but the conditions that support positive social-ecological outcomes remain poorly documented. We address this knowledge gap by synthesizing research that analyses how agricultural intensification affects both ecosystem services and human well-being in low- and middle-income countries. Overall, we find that agricultural intensification is rarely found to lead to simultaneous positive ecosystem service and well-being outcomes. This is particularly the case when ecosystem services other than food provisioning are taken into consideration.
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This paper has been developed as part of the project ‘Landscapes in transition: synthesising knowledge on trade-offs between land use changes, ecosystem services and wellbeing’ (grant no. NE/P008356/1), funded with support from the ESPA programme. The ESPA programme (http://www.espa.ac.uk) is funded by the DFID, the ESRC and NERC. The research contributes to the Global Land Programme (https://glp.earth). E.C. acknowledges the financial support of the UAB-Banco de Santander Talent Retention Programme and notes that this work contributes to ICTA-UAB ‘Unit of Excellence’ (MinECo, MDM2015-0552). We thank T. Dale for assistance during the coding process.
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Rasmussen, L.V., Coolsaet, B., Martin, A. et al. Social-ecological outcomes of agricultural intensification. Nat Sustain 1, 275–282 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-018-0070-8
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