A major objective of the State of the World's Land and Water Resources for
Food and Agriculture (SOLAW) is primarily to raise awareness on the status
of land and water resources, at the same time it scopes and inform on
opportunities and challenges. Throughout the years, FAO has established
itself as a unique source for a variety of global data on land and water.
This book takes full advantage of these data, presenting the most
comprehensive and up-to-date global overview of the availability of land
and water resources, their use and management, as well as related future
trends and developments. SOLAW takes into consideration major drivers of
global change, including demands driven by demographics, changing
consumption patterns, biofuel production and climate change impacts. The
SOLAW report, deals primarily with the issue of land and water for crops.
It examines the kinds of production responses are necessary to meet
demand, while assessing the potential of the world’s land and water
resources to support these desired increases in output and productivity.
Risks and tradeoffs are examined, and options reviewed for managing these
without harm to the resource base.
The five main chapters cover an analysis of the current status of land and
water resources together with trends. They offer an assessment of the
biophysical and technical aspects of the resources and their use,
including projections for the year 2050. They review current institutional
arrangements, and assess socio-economic and environmental impacts of
current land and water management. Current and future threats to land and
water are also reviewed, together with their implications for a series of
major systems at risk. A series of requirements and options to achieve the
necessary levels of output and productivity required in a sustainable way
are presented. Finally, the report assesses the institutional responses at
local, national and international levels, with an analysis of lessons for
the future. The conclusions present some policy recommendations. What is
offered is a pragmatic step by step approaches towards a more sustainable,
lower-carbon intensive agricultural production that is based on
ecologically-sensitive management of land and water by farmers, supported
by policies, and institutions.