Which practices co-deliver food security, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and combat land degradation and desertification?

Pete Smith*, Katherine Calvin, Johnson Nkem, Donovan Campbell, Francesco Cherubini, Giacomo Grassi, Vladimir Korotkov, Anh Le Hoang, Shuaib Lwasa, Pamela McElwee, Ephraim Nkonya, Nobuko Saigusa, Jean Francois Soussana, Miguel Angel Taboada, Frances C. Manning, Dorothy Nampanzira, Cristina Arias-Navarro, Matteo Vizzarri, Jo House, Stephanie RoeAnnette Cowie, Mark Rounsevell, Almut Arneth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

167 Citations (Scopus)
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There is a clear need for transformative change in the land management and food production sectors to address the global land challenges of climate change mitigation, climate change adaptation, combatting land degradation and desertification, and delivering food security (referred to hereafter as “land challenges”). We assess the potential for 40 practices to address these land challenges and find that: Nine options deliver medium to large benefits for all four land challenges. A further two options have no global estimates for adaptation, but have medium to large benefits for all other land challenges. Five options have large mitigation potential (>3 Gt CO2eq/year) without adverse impacts on the other land challenges. Five options have moderate mitigation potential, with no adverse impacts on the other land challenges. Sixteen practices have large adaptation potential (>25 million people benefit), without adverse side effects on other land challenges. Most practices can be applied without competing for available land. However, seven options could result in competition for land. A large number of practices do not require dedicated land, including several land management options, all value chain options, and all risk management options. Four options could greatly increase competition for land if applied at a large scale, though the impact is scale and context specific, highlighting the need for safeguards to ensure that expansion of land for mitigation does not impact natural systems and food security. A number of practices, such as increased food productivity, dietary change and reduced food loss and waste, can reduce demand for land conversion, thereby potentially freeing-up land and creating opportunities for enhanced implementation of other practices, making them important components of portfolios of practices to address the combined land challenges.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1532-1575
Number of pages44
JournalGlobal Change Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
UKRI, Grant/Award Number: NE/
M021327/1, EP/M013200/1, NE/
M016900/1, NE/P019455/1 and BB/
N013484/1; UKERC; European Union,
Grant/Award Number: 774378, 773901,
774124 and 776810; Wellcome Trust;
UK Department for Business, Energy &
Industrial Strategy; Norwegian Research
Council, Grant/Award Number: 286773,
257622, 281113 and 294534; IPCC Trust

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Authors. Global Change Biology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd


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