Sustainable Intensification Community

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The dual challenge of increasing global food production while simultaneously reducing the negative environmental impacts of agriculture is more urgent than ever. Sustainable Intensification (SI) is an approach that aims to further boost crop yields on existing agricultural land while minimizing the negative environmental pressures of agricultural production. Despite little agreement on what SI entails, it has received much attention as a potential paradigm for transforming food production systems. Importantly, the scientific discipline of SI is still emerging and many core concepts require further exploration, discussion, and evaluation. This community brings together members from across our Society to examine challenges, limitations, and opportunities for SI in agronomic production systems across the globe.

By nature, SI encompasses efforts to both improve crop production while also addressing agricultural sustainability and social well-being needs, thus its goals are broad reaching and complex. Resource-use efficiencies, environmental impact indicators, and ecological services have been proposed to evaluate SI (e.g. water quality, GHG emissions, nutrient, water, and energy use efficiency, carbon footprints, soil quality, and the flow of environmental services, etc.), but balancing these metrics with agronomic and socio-economic outcomes is challenging. There are a number of obstacles to SI implementation, particularly at the farm, landscape, and regional scales, and an improved understanding of management approaches, potential tradeoffs, and frameworks for evaluation are needed. At the same time, there is a rapidly growing demand for science-based information related to SI within and beyond our discipline. Recognizing that SI is a cross-cutting theme that builds on the expertise of specialists, this community provides a forum for interaction and debate among members from various disciplines, with the ultimate aim of developing a collective vision for highly productive, sustainable agricultural systems of the future.

View the Sustainable Intensification Community Leadership Roster