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Theme Project:

Sustainable Agro-Ecosystems

This theme covers four interrelated areas: Climate Change, Environmental Degradation, Food Security and Land Redistribution

The competing demands on natural resources by a rapidly expanding world population, strategies for economic growth, increases in food production, rising energy needs, the effects of climate change and the political pressure for equitable land redistribution all contribute to make the question whether the planet’s agro-ecosystems can be sustained in the long run not only a theoretical issue, but a matter of human and environmental survival. Against this background, STIAS welcomes research proposals in all four areas, aimed at exploring various aspects of this field. The following are examples of subthemes in need of further investigation.

Climate change

  • Major drivers of climate change
  • Speed of change, most affected regions, future prospects
  • Technologies to improve efficiency and reduce emissions

Environmental Degradation

  • Water – sources, patterns of usage, efficiency
  • Energy – non-renewable and renewable sources, viable alternatives
  • Soil degradation – causes and counter-measures
  • Exploitation of non-renewable natural resources – mining, gas, oil, minerals

Food Security

  • Empirical studies on the level and prevalence of food deprivation, economic factors and future needs in different parts of the world
  • Impact of sustainable intensification of food production on environment and human well-being
  • Gender and food security
  • Children and food security
  • The influence of labour and labour unrest on food security
  • Alternative production systems and food distribution strategies

Land Rights and Land Redistribution

  • Moral and legal issues underlying land rights and land use
  • Political, economic and other factors driving land redistribution
  • Case studies of successful/unsuccessful land redistributions
  • Alternative approaches to equitable redistribution and the productive use of land