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    Transformation archetypes in global food systems

    Dornelles, A.Z. and Boonstra, W.J. and Delabre, Izabela and Denney, J.M. and Nunes, R.J. and Jentsch, A. and Nicholas, K.A. and Schroter, M. and Seppelt, R. and Settele, J. and Shackelford, N. and Standish, R.J. and Oliver, T.H. (2022) Transformation archetypes in global food systems. Sustainability Science , ISSN 1862-4065. (In Press)

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    Abstract

    Food systems are primary drivers of human and environmental health, but the understanding of their dynamic co-transformation remains limited. We use a data-driven approach to disentangle different development pathways of national food systems (i.e., ‘transformation archetypes’) based on historical, intertwined trends of food system structure (agricultural inputs and outputs and food trade), and social and environmental outcomes (malnutrition, biosphere integrity, and greenhouse gases emissions) for 161 countries, from 1995 to 2015. We found that whilst food systems have consistently improved in terms of productivity (ratio of output to input), other metrics suggest a typology of three transformation archetypes across countries: rapidly expansionist, expansionist, and consolidative. Expansionist and rapidly expansionist archetypes increased in agricultural area, synthetic fertiliser use, and gross agricultural output, which was accompanied by malnutrition, environmental pressures, and lasting socioeconomic disadvantages. The lowest rates of change in key structure metrics were found in the consolidative archetype. Across all transformation archetypes, agricultural greenhouse gases emissions, synthetic fertiliser use, and ecological footprint of consumption increased faster than the expansion of agricultural area, and obesity levels increased more rapidly than undernourishment decreased. The persistence of these unsustainable trajectories occurred independently of improvements in productivity. Our model underscores the importance of quantifying the multiple human and environmental dimensions of food systems transformations and can serve as a starting point to identify potential leverage points for sustainability transformations. More attention is thus warranted to alternative development pathways able of delivering equitable benefits to both productivity and to human and environmental health.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    School: School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Department of Geography
    Depositing User: Izabela Delabre
    Date Deposited: 10 May 2022 14:34
    Last Modified: 12 May 2022 05:24
    URI: https://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/47365

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