Has the world passed “peak agricultural land”?

Expanding agriculture has been the biggest driver of the destruction of the world’s wilderness.

This expansion of agricultural land has now come to an end. After millennia, we have passed the peak, and in recent years global agricultural land use has declined…

Here I have brought together the three leading analyses on the change in global land use – these are shown in the visualization. Each uses a different methodology, as explained in the chart. The UN FAO produces the bedrock data for each of these analyses from 1961 onwards; however, the researchers apply their own methodologies on top, and extend this series further back in time.

As you can see, they disagree on how much land is used for agriculture, and the time at which land use peaked. But they do all agree that we have passed the peak.

Here is more from Hannah Ritchie at Our World in Data.  Of course food production continues to rise.


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