University of Vermont

Gund Institute for Ecological Economics

Gund Research Profile: The Conflict Between Ecosystem Services and Food Production

Gund Fellow, Josh Farley, discusses the conflict between ecosystem services and food production. Both are essential for human survival and both are non-substitutable resources. Global food production has emerged as the biggest threat to ecological sustainability. Though humanity currently produces enough food to sustain nine billion people, nearly one billion people are currently malnourished, and the FAO warns that failure to increase agricultural output by 70% by 2050 in response to increasing demand could lead to catastrophic impacts on human welfare. At the same time, numerous studies warn that simply maintaining current levels of conventional agricultural production threatens catastrophic degradation of global ecosystems. How are we going to address this problem in an efficient, just, and ecologically appropriate manner?

Rooted both in this inherent conflict and in the parameters of desired solutions, Josh explains some of the research he's been working on in the Brazilian Atlantic Forests to implement agroforestry practices with farmers in the region.

Presenter: Dr. Joshua Farley, Professor in the Community Development and Applied Economics department at UVM and Fellow at the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics

The Gund Institute is a hub for transdisciplinary scholarship, based at the University of Vermont and comprising diverse faculty, students, and collaborators worldwide. Together we conduct research at the interface of ecological, social, and economic systems, develop creative, practical solutions to local and global environmental challenges, and provide future leaders with the tools and understanding necessary to navigate the transition to a sustainable society.

To learn more visit: