Peak Farmland Is an Ecological Imperative

A Response to Breakthrough’s Essay on Precision Agriculture

Along with rapidly reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reaching ‘peak farmland’ is probably the world’s most important environmental objective. However, it is far less well-known, and is not advocated as a target to my knowledge by any major environmental organisation. The reason for this is doubtless because most of the agricultural policies long advocated by the green movement would serve to take us further away from peak farmland rather than towards it.

It should be fairly obvious why peaking farmland expansion is important. Biodiversity loss ranks alongside climate change as an existential threat to the Earth’s ecological systems, and conversion of land to agriculture and the resultant loss of habitat is in turn the greatest single threat to biodiversity. There is no prospect of sparing large areas of wilderness from the curse of the plough without halting the conversion of nature to human-oriented agriculture.

It’s either peak farmland or zero rainforest: our choice.


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