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Enhancing farming and production

Is there a more efficient way of using the land? This question is increasingly important. Agricultural production is essential for providing food, fibre and fuel for a growing population, but this could be done more efficiently in many cases. Using integrated land management techniques can increase productivity while reducing deforestation and carbon emissions.

In this section:

In this section, you will find information on the data and analyses which form the basis of effective sustainable landscape initiatives. This includes the methodologies for selecting activities to finance and the partnerships which can make it happen.

Why is this important?

Demand for agricultural commodities is driving approximately two thirds of deforestation and landscape degradation worldwide. This could be reduced if agriculture used land more efficiently: in the regions examined in the Unlocking Forest Finance project, analysis showed productivity could be several times higher for some supply chains. Such low per-hectare yields, common in many tropical forest regions, represent an opportunity to increase output.

There are several ways that land can be used more efficiently. For example, cattle ranching and many other types of farming could use land more intensively, so less land is needed overall. Many farmers could also adapt their practices to avoid degrading the soil, so they can work the same piece of land continuously. Some crops, such as coffee and cacao, can be cultivated using more sustainable agroforestry systems, where crops are grown between trees. These transformations will require investment, in part to train farmers, processors and other groups to adapt to new methods.  

The three projects developed by Unlocking Forest Finance in Peru and Brazil have focused on regional government priorities, analysing supply chains which were expected to grow, potentially damaging the forest. Whenever possible, the project aims to reduce this harmful impact with interventions which can attract investment.

Increasing efficiency alone is unlikely to prevent agriculture from expanding into forests. Improvements in agricultural efficiency need to go hand in hand with strong environmental safeguards and conservation efforts, as detailed in the next section, Protecting people and the environment.

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