Joint environmental and social benefits from diversified agriculture

Peer Reviewed
5 April 2024

Rasmussen et al

Agricultural simplification continues to expand at the expense of more diverse forms of agriculture. This simplification, for example, in the form of intensively managed monocultures, poses a risk to keeping the world within safe and just Earth system boundaries.

Here, we estimated how agricultural diversification simultaneously affects social and environmental outcomes. Drawing from 24 studies in 11 countries across 2655 farms, we show how five diversification strategies focusing on livestock, crops, soils, noncrop plantings, and water conservation benefit social (e.g., human well-being, yields, and food security) and environmental (e.g., biodiversity, ecosystem services, and reduced environmental externalities) outcomes. We found that applying multiple diversification strategies creates more positive outcomes than individual management strategies alone. To realize these benefits, well-designed policies are needed to incentivize the adoption of multiple diversification strategies in unison.

EfD Authors
Sustainable Development Goals
Publication | 24 June 2024