Human induced change of ecosystems over the past 50 years has resulted in an unprecedented and largely irreversible loss of biodiversity. If these trends continue, the ability of ecosystems to provide basic needs for food, water, timber, ibre and fuel will diminish. Reversing the trends requires signiicant changes in policies, institutions and practices.
Agriculture, forestry and livestock management are strong contributors to climate change, currently accounting for approximately 20% of greenhouse gas emissions. An estimated increase in population to approximately 9 billion people by 2050 will require at least a 50% increase in food production. Most of both will take place in developing countries. Climate change will
lead to higher average temperatures, more severe weather extremes and altered precipitation patterns, adding additional pressure to agricultural systems, food production and food prices.
Climate change threatens progress already made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals and in providing sustainable livelihoods to millions of smallholders.
Agriculture of the future must meet the triple challenge of: raising food production per unit area; reducing the vulnerability of agricultural systems to climate change; and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. Agriculture with trees is ideally placed to tackle all three challenges.