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Day by day and season after season, weather and markets, pests and profits, and the continuity of their enterprises and land preoccupy farmers and the business people who work with them. At the same time, in the back of their minds, they know humanity expects farmers and their associates will feed more and more people at prices that will leave money for all the other things people need or desire. And in the back of their minds, farmers wonder if they can do what burgeoning humanity expects while sharing the earth with robins and elephants, dogwoods and laurel, jungles and marshes.

They wonder if they can fulfill humanity's expectations even with the help of agricultural science and technology. So the Executive Committee of the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology recommended CAST examine ``How much land can ten billion people spare for Nature?" CAST hopes this consequent report will first spark a discussion and then will, in fact, cause humanity to be well fed and land to be spared for Nature.

An answer, written by Paul E. Waggoner of The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, was first presented on October 29, 1993 in a workshop on ``Technological Trajectories and the Human Environment" at The Rockefeller University in New York City.

Many, in many ways, helped examine the question. Jesse Ausubel prompted the investigation by phrasing the question. Pierre Crosson, Mark Drabenstott, William Nordhaus, V. W. Ruttan, and F. H. Sanderson tutored the author about economics; Donald Duvick about contests among corn growers; Marvin Jensen about irrigation; Sandra L. Postel about water resources; B. C. Darst about fertilizer; Frank Hole about Sumerian farming; V. L. Waggoner about the Old Testament; and D. Metlitzki about the Koran. C. T. deWit and Rudy Rabbinge provided a European perspective. Then three diverse, qualified reviewers named on the author page studied and criticized the first draft of the report. The CAST Executive and Editorial Review committees studied the revised draft and added their suggestions. All reviewers and committees assisted by judging revisions and responses to suggestions. At every stage, the CAST staff provided editorial and structural suggestions and published the report. The author and credited reviewers are responsible for all scientific content of the report. CAST thanks all who freely gave time to examining whether land could be spared for Nature while ten billion were fed.

We are grateful to Jesse H. Ausubel, Director, Program for the Human Environment, The Rockefeller University, New York City, who generously provided partial funding to publish the report. The members of CAST merit special recognition because the unrestricted contributions they have made in support of the work of CAST helped finance the preparation of this report.

This report is being distributed by CAST to members of Congress, the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration, the Agency for International Development, Office of Technology Assessment, Office of Management and Budget, media personnel, and to institutional members of CAST. Additional copies are being distributed by The Rockefeller University. Individual members of CAST may receive a copy upon request. The report may be republished or reproduced in its entirety without permission. If copied in any manner, credit to the author, CAST, and The Rockefeller University would be appreciated.

In the back of their minds, farmers wonder if they, science, and technology can do what burgeoning humanity expects while sharing the earth with Nature. The vision published here requires never-ending research, encouraging incentives, and smart farmers. But, for humanity and Nature, this answer is not without hope, which is a better companion than despair.

Paul E. Waggoner

Deon D. Stuthman

Richard E. Stuckey
Executive Vice President

Kayleen A. Niyo
Scientific Editor

next up previous contents index
Next: Abbreviations Up: How Much Land Can Previous: Foreword

Yasuko Kitajima
Thu Jun 19 16:20:56 PDT 1997