The Stream, December 18: ‘Peak Farmland’ May Be Good for All

Will farm land run out? The New York Times Dot Earth blog takes a sneak peek look at the forthcoming study, Peak Farmland and the Prospects for Saving Nature. The big idea? Trends show that population growth and farm land use are “decoupling,” that is to say that our demand for acres of farm land per capita is decreasing over time. Some explanations for this include slowing population growth, lower demand for food that requires large amounts of land, and more land-efficient farming methods. Overall, the authors are “optimistic” that the global human population will not have to choose between eating and conserving nature, and rather, both can coexist, sustainably.

Climate Change Affecting Rivers
A report from Inter Press Services looks at the island of Dominica because the rivers there are rapidly diminishing due to climate change. Other contributing factors to the disappearing rivers include human impacts, such as rearing animals near rivers, destroying the foliage that provide “buffer zones” and support the rivers. Extreme weather is another threat, not only to the waterways of the country, but to the infrastructure and livelihoods of the people.

Great Lakes Stress Assessment
New map project first of its kind to measure and convey quantitative data on stressors that impact the North American Great Lakes. The project — Great Lakes Environmental Assessment and Mapping (GLEAM) — comes from a team of researchers and is spearheaded by the University of Michigan. Lead researcher David Allen told Science Daily that, “Despite clear societal dependence on the Great Lakes, their condition continues to be degraded by numerous environmental stressors.”

Cyclone Evan Slams Fiji
After Tropical Cyclone Evan battered Fiji for 12 hours, some parts of the nation have been described as akin to a “war zone,” according to a report from Al Jazeera. No deaths have been reported, which is good news largely attributed to the storm preparation and planning made ahead of its landfall. In comparison, the nation of Samoa allegedly did not put into place advance planning for the cyclone, which claimed 5 lives there.

The Stream is a daily digest spotting global water trends. To get more water news, follow Circle of Blue on Twitter and sign up for our newsletter.

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