Facilitating decisions for sustainable rice production

June 22, 2015
Ecosystem services & food security: Facilitating decisions for sustainable rice production
LEGATO logo. Credit: LEGATO

Continuing global population growth requires an increase in food production. The LEGATO project looks at rice as key staple food for a majority of the human population and the ways in which knowledge about ecosystem services (ES) can help decision makers to improve the sustainability of rice production systems in Southeast Asia.

Facing a projected world population of more than 10 billion by the end of this century, but having 868 million people suffering severe food scarcity in the year 2012, explains why intensive research is conducted to enhance food security.

Rice (Oryza sativa L.) is the major staple food for 2.5 billion people worldwide, whereof 557 million people live in Southeast Asia.

Today, however, yield increases are slowing down, which brings up questions about future food security. Moreover, in many cases ecosystem structures (including biodiversity) and functions have suffered from a food production approach that is only focused on maximising yields.

Approaches that enable a sustainable management of rice cropping systems and the surrounding landscapes are urgently needed. Ecosystem services (ES) offer promising ways to communicate the relevance of biodiversity and functioning ecosystems to .

In a new study seven rice cultivation areas in Southeast Asia were assessed using the ecosystem service 'matrix' approach as a part of the LEGATO project to demonstrate how quantification, valuation and mapping of ecosystem functions and services are suitable means to facilitate the dialogue about sustainable land use among scientists, policy makers and local stakeholders.

The resulting spatially explicit maps show synthesized and 'easy to digest' information on regional ecosystem service supply capacities, revealing differences between more and less intensively managed cropping areas in Vietnam and the Philippines. Such ES-based information can help providing alternative management options for decision-making in agricultural systems.

Uncertainties of the method and results are discussed and recommendations for future studies are also provided in the article.

Explore further: Seven ecosystem services valued at more than EUR100 million annually

Related Stories

Silicon: An important element in rice production

April 28, 2015

Silicon (Si) is the second most abundant element of the earth's crust after oxygen. It has long been neglected by ecologists, as it is not considered an essential nutrient for plants. However, research of recent years showed ...

A better way to evaluate conservation policies found

June 16, 2015

Protected forested areas in Brazil, Costa Rica, Indonesia and Thailand have prevented the release of more than 1,000 million additional tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, an economic service provided by nature worth ...

Recommended for you

Heavy oils and petroleum coke raising vanadium emissions

December 15, 2017

Human emissions of the potentially harmful trace metal vanadium into Earth's atmosphere have spiked sharply since the start of the 21st century due in large part to industry's growing use of heavy oils, tar sands, bitumen ...

Climate change made Harvey rainfall 15 percent more intense

December 14, 2017

A team of scientists from World Weather Attribution, including researchers from Rice University and other institutions in the United States and Europe, have found that human-caused climate change made the record rainfall ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.