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Agricultural commodity landscapes in the tropics: Towards solving a multi-dimensional sustainability challenge for the future

Manan Bhan, Anushka Rege

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4th July 2023. 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM ( Room 2)


A collaborative space featuring young voices from the Global South which is focussed on better understanding the multi-dimensional socio-environmental impacts in commodity production landscapes and which seeks to envision a future that delivers multiple goals of sustainable land use, effective climate action and human well-being.

Background: The conversion of natural ecosystems for the production of agricultural commodities is a multi-dimensional sustainability challenge - not only is it one of the biggest drivers of the loss of natural ecosystems in the tropics, but it also impacts freshwater availability, biodiversity, energy use and human livelihoods. Lately, the subject is receiving scientific and policy attention which has been particularly focussed on the deforestation and carbon emissions embodied in commodity consumption both within and across international borders. This window is providing us with the momentum required to advance science-based solutions and design sustainable futures which can provide multiple win-wins for climate action, environmental sustainability and human well-being, all rooted in environmental context as well as social equity and justice.
Scope: The session aims to highlight some of the current evidence of socio-environmental impacts from commodity-driven land use changes in tropical landscapes and visualize the future of these landscapes.
Goals: The session will provide young scholars and journalists from the Global South a platform to discuss aspects related to carbon emissions, freshwater use, biodiversity loss and local livelihoods from agricultural commodity-based land use changes. Interdisciplinary approaches including qualitative as well as quantitative methods are essential to address the issues, thus both approaches would be welcome in the session. In this way, the case studies featured in the session would be able to highlight the complexities of such a multi-dimensional sustainability challenge, both in terms of current impacts as well as anticipating futures.
Outcome: We will use these case studies to together envision how such commodity production landscapes might look in the future and the need for proactive interventions to mitigate some of the place-based impacts that the presenters identify. To this end, we would encourage speakers to end their presentations with a vision statement to stimulate a healthy discussion among all session participants. We expect these discussions to be robust and potentially provide grounds for future collaborations among speakers. Finally, we will invite all speakers to co-author a commentary tentatively titled ‘Visions of sustainability in commodity production landscapes in the tropics’ to be submitted to the ATBC journal, Biotropica, after the session concludes.

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