Research articles

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  • Overexposure to ozone compromises crop yields, yet accurate estimates of such impact in Asia have been hindered by limited empirical data. This study assesses relative yield losses of three main crops in Japan, China, and South Korea through O3 exposure–response relationships based on monitoring data and experiment-based sensitivities.

    • Zhaozhong Feng
    • Yansen Xu
    • Xu Yue
    Article
  • A self-powered electrical stimulation system that harvests wind and raindrop energy has the capacity to stimulate crop growth via the all-weather triboelectric nanogenerator. A small-scale experiment shows that the system can increase ~26.3% of the germination speed and ~17.9% of yield for peas.

    • Xunjia Li
    • Jianjun Luo
    • Zhong Lin Wang
    Article
  • The exact contribution of alternative diets to climate change mitigation depends on several factors, including where these diets are adopted. This study quantifies avoided greenhouse gas emissions that would result from a shift to EAT–Lancet diets in 54 high-income countries through agricultural production and the restoration of natural vegetation in saved lands.

    • Zhongxiao Sun
    • Laura Scherer
    • Paul Behrens
    Article
  • Conflicts are known to disrupt agriculture, food supply chains and the economy at large. Mapping and quantifying such disruptions, although key for aid planning, remains a challenge in war zones. This study uses daytime and night-time satellite data from Syria over 1998–2019 to assess the link between war-induced impacts on infrastructure and urban areas with cropland dynamics.

    • Xi-Ya Li
    • Xi Li
    • Xiao-Peng Song
    Article
  • In a circular food system, animals are solely fed with low-opportunity biomass, resulting in substantially smaller herds and lower animal production. Using a resource-allocation model, this study examines whether the adoption of circularity in the EU-27 + UK would meet requirements of the EAT-Lancet reference diet.

    • Benjamin van Selm
    • Anita Frehner
    • Hannah H. E. van Zanten
    Article Open Access
  • High-resolution satellite observations provide an accurate and cost-effective solution to monitoring national and global progress towards Sustainable Development Goals. With a new global cropland dataset, this study reports that during the first two decades of the twenty-first century, the global cropland area increased by 9%, whereas the per-capita cropland area decreased by 10% and the per-capita annual cropland net primary production increased by 3.5%.

    • Peter Potapov
    • Svetlana Turubanova
    • Jocelyn Cortez
    Article Open Access
  • The consolidation of small farms into large-scale agricultural enterprises may have important socioeconomic and environmental consequences. Based on 40,000 rural surveys, ecological modelling and geostatistical analysis, this study assesses the spatial feasibility and cost-effectiveness of land consolidation in China, and its impact on a set of sustainability indicators.

    • Jiakun Duan
    • Chenchen Ren
    • Baojing Gu
    Article
  • Population growth and dietary changes affect ammonia emissions from agriculture and the concentration of particulate matter in the atmosphere. This study quantifies the adverse health impacts associated with these processes in China using a mechanistic model of particulate matter formation and transport. It also compares them with direct health impacts of changing diets upon premature death from food-related diseases.

    • Xueying Liu
    • Amos P. K. Tai
    • Hon-Ming Lam
    Article
  • Big data collected through apps can facilitate large-scale study of diet and lifestyles. Information from the ZOE COVID Study indicates the variety and extent of impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the diets and lifestyles of adults in the United States and the United Kingdom.

    • Mohsen Mazidi
    • Emily R. Leeming
    • Sarah E. Berry
    Article Open Access
  • Owing to its short atmospheric life, methane’s contribution to agricultural emissions and climate change may vary substantially depending on the temporal scale considered. Based on projections from three agricultural economic models, this study reveals how different appreciations of methane’s global warming potential may affect the cost-effectiveness of carbon pricing and low-meat diets.

    • Ignacio Pérez-Domínguez
    • Agustin del Prado
    • María José Sanz-Sánchez
    Article Open Access
  • Accurately determining the concentrations of NH4+ and NO3 in the soil is important for optimizing nitrogen fertilizer application, but the standard laboratory testing approaches are expensive and slow. A low-cost technology that combines point-of-use sensor measurements, weather and timing data with a machine learning model can rapidly and accurately determine and predict soil nitrogen levels.

    • Max Grell
    • Giandrin Barandun
    • Firat Güder
    Article
  • Crop pests and diseases (CPDs) can substantially reduce attainable crop yields worldwide, but the understanding of CPD dynamics remains limited because CPD occurrence is complex and interacts with climate and agronomic practices. Using a historical dataset of CPD occurrence in China, the national average rate of CPD occurrence was found to increase by a factor of four during 1970–2016, and climate change will lead to a greater increase in CPD occurrence by the end of the century.

    • Chenzhi Wang
    • Xuhui Wang
    • Shilong Piao
    Article
  • Climate change affects agricultural productivity. New systematic global agricultural yield projections of the major crops were conducted using ensembles of the latest generation of crop and climate models. Substantial shifts in global crop productivity due to climate change will occur within the next 20 years—several decades sooner than previous projections—highlighting the need for targeted food system adaptation and risk management in the coming decades.

    • Jonas Jägermeyr
    • Christoph Müller
    • Cynthia Rosenzweig
    Article
  • Climate change may pose a fundamental challenge to maintaining the high productivity of US dairy systems. Based on weather variability and milk yields from 1981 to 2018, this study estimates the impact of extreme heat and cold on productivity, the sensitivity of specific regions and the importance of farm management for mediating such impacts.

    • Maria Gisbert-Queral
    • Arne Henningsen
    • Nathaniel D. Mueller
    Article
  • Estimating the global cropland N2O mitigation potential is limited by the uncertainty and variability of direct emission factors (EFs). Here, using a data-driven approach with 1,507 chamber-based field observations of EFs, the study shows that EF variation is primarily driven by climatic and edaphic factors. Two-thirds of the mitigation potential could be achieved on one-fifth of the global harvested area, mainly located in humid subtropical climates and across gleysols and acrisols.

    • Xiaoqing Cui
    • Feng Zhou
    • Dongqiang Zhu
    Article
  • An integrated methodology that includes climate, crop, economic and life cycle assessment models was developed to explore the climate adaptation and mitigation opportunities throughout the US potato and tomato supply chains. This study shows that supply chains for two popular processed products in the United States, French fries and pasta sauce, will be remarkably resilient, through planting adaptation strategies.

    • David Gustafson
    • Senthold Asseng
    • Liujun Xiao
    Article