The global Land-Potential Knowledge System (LandPKS): Supporting evidence-based, site-specific land use and management through cloud computing, mobile applications, and crowdsourcing.Herrick JE Urama KC, Karl JW, Boos J, Johnson MV, Shepherd KD et al.
2013. The global Land-Potential Knowledge System (LandPKS): Supporting
evidence-based, site-specific land use and management through cloud
computing, mobile applications, and crowdsou [+]
Agricultural production must increase significantly to meet the needs of a growing global population with increasing per capita consumption of food, fiber, building materials, and fuel. Consumption already exceeds net primary production in many parts of the world (Imhoff et al. 2004).
In addition to reducing consumption, there are two options to meet these needs: production intensification and land conversion. Both strategies present unique opportunities, challenges, and risks. The largest gains achievable through agricultural intensification will likely occur on lands with the largest unrealized production potential, or yield gap. These lands have high potential production and low current production. Similarly, the highest returns on investments to be gained by land conversion should occur on lands with the highest potential production, assuming similar infrastructure, per acre conversion costs, and other market conditions.
The biggest long-term risk for both strategies is that application of nonsustainable land management practices will result in soil degradation that is often costly, if not impossible, to reverse. Exploiting these opportunities and minimizing risks depend on careful matching of production systems with the sustainable production potential of each type of land. Similar analyses can be applied to biodiversity conservation to prioritize land conservation and restoration efforts.