Title of symposium:
Feeding the planet whilst minimizing environmental and socio-economic costs

Symposium Summary
The growing global population together with increasing consumption per capita means that more agricultural products need to be produced to satisfy demand. More forested land is likely to be cleared for agricultural purposes, posing a threat to the sustainability of tropical ecosystems. This is especially acute in the tropics because the same piece of land which often sustains a high level of biodiversity and carbon also represents an economic opportunity when converted for agricultural purposes. This creates a developing trade-off between using the land for growing crops and preserving it for biodiversity conservation. Resolving this tension is a key sustainability challenge of the 21st century. It is important to find a balance between increasing agricultural production to meet global demand and minimising its potential impact on biodiversity and carbon. In Southeast Asia, this mounting pressure on the land is epitomised with a rapid expansion of forested areas for planting highly profitable crops such as oil palm, rubber and timber. The overarching goal of the symposium is to highlight the latest advances in conservation and sustainability science that attempts to understand the trade-offs between agricultural demand and nature. The objectives are to quantify the implications of future demand on biodiversity and carbon stocking, and to learn how to manage those environmental pressures to attain the required level of agricultural production with minimum impacts on nature.

List of speakers and presentation titles:



L. Roman Carrasco

Biodiversity conservation in a telecoupled world

Yuchen Zhang

Crop-specific threats to tropical biodiversity by 2050

Felix Lim

Perverse market outcomes of conservation interventions: modelling market feedbacks of oil palm expansion in Indonesia

Kimberly Carlson

Global conservation community attitudes regarding oil palm and biodiversity

Rebecca Senior

The state of climate connectivity across the tropics

Joli Borah

How to better manage shifting cultivation to improve conservation outcomes

Graham Prescott

Gold, farm, and forests

Patrick Cannon

Does land sparing or sharing best protect functional diversity?

Manjari Jayathilake

Agriculture expansion as a major driver of deforestation in conserved tropical landscapes