Sunday, February 12, 2017

Global Consequences of Land Use

Foley & his fellow researchers discuss land use, specifically the conversion of natural landscapes, as a global issue. They argue that converting landscapes as they exist naturally is not merely a local environmental issue, rather, it has numerous impacts on the planet as a whole. Land use practices have significantly impacted the global carbon cycle, global climateeven the regional climate at times (Foley 570). The changes that humans have made and continue to make to natural landscapes have led to losses in biodiversity, shortages of resources, air quality problems, and various other issues. The researchers argue that “we face the challenge of managing trade-offs between immediate needs and maintaining the capacity of the biosphere to provide goods and services in the long term”; we run into problems as we face the issue of critical natural resources such as food, fiber, shelter, and freshwater (Foley 570).

In order to combat the negative effects brought on by human changes to natural landscapes, we must put sustainable land-use practices and policies into place; these practices include agricultural production per unit land area, per unit fertilizer input, per unit water consumed, increasing soil nutrients (organic matter), green spaces in urban areas, maintaining local biodiversity, etc (Foley 573) It is important that all of these practices consider short-term and long-term needs (573).

Foley, Jonathan A., et al. "Global Consequences of Land Use." Science 309.5734 (2005): 570-574.


  1. I would be interested to see these same maps across years of data to be able to view what is happening over time to our natural landscapes.

  2. This is interesting. I wonder if this data will be used more in the future, so that we are better able to use our time and efforts to create a better future for everyone.

  3. I personally feel that understanding the data in this article is very important if we want to sustain many of our resources, and I hope that future generations will become more aware of this issue.