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Journey to Planet Earth
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Plan B: Mobilizing to Save CivilizationState of the Planet's OceansState of the Ocean's AnimalsState of the Planet's WildlifeState of the PlanetFuture ConditionalHot ZonesSeas of GrassOn the BrinkLand of Plenty, Land of WantUrban ExplosionRivers of Destiny
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Agricultural Ecosystems

About 85 percent of the world's agricultural land contains areas degraded by erosion, salinization, compaction, nutrient depletion, biological degradation, or pollution over the last 50 years. About 34 percent of all agricultural land contains areas only lightly degraded; 43 percent contains moderately degraded areas; and 9 percent contains strongly or extremely degraded areas. The extent of agricultural soil degradation raises questions about the long-term capacity of agricultural ecosystems (or agroecosystems) to produce food.

  • Agroecosystems cover more than a quarter of the global land area, but almost three-quarters of the land has poor soil fertility and about half has steep terrain.
  • While the global expansion of agricultural area has been modest in recent decades, intensification has been rapid, as irrigated area increased and fallow time decreased to produce more output per hectare.
  • Agriculture faces an enormous challenge to meet the food needs of an additional 1.7 billion people over the next 20 years.

Source: World Resources 2000-2001

In Land Of Plenty, Land Of Want, investigate the fundamental problem facing today's farmers: how to feed the world's growing population without endangering our environment. Read the full description of this program or watch a video clip.

In Seas Of Grass, discover the world's grasslands, natural vegetation of nearly 40 percent of Earth's land surface, some of which are in grave danger. Read the full description of this program or watch a video clip.

In Future Conditional, learn how the environment, which sustains human life, is also a profound source of ill health for many of the world’s people. Read the full description of this program.

Read Stories of Hope from the Journey to Planet Earth series focusing on agricultural ecosystems:



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Plan B: Mobilizing to Save Civilization | State of the Planet's Oceans | State of the Ocean's Animals
State of the Planet's Wildlife | The State of the Planet | Future Conditional | On the Brink | Hot Zones
Seas of Grass | Land of Plenty, Land of Want | Urban Explosion | Rivers of Destiny

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