Borlaug, Moore, Arias, McGovern, Lovelock, Lapointe, Pinstrup-Andersen Suppo
April 30, 2002
CONTACT: Alex Avery, Center for Global Food Issues, 540-337-6354
INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN TOUTS HIGH-YIELD FARMING AND FORESTRY TO CONSERVE
Unique Coalition Says "Growing more per acre will leave more land for
Washington, DC, April 30, 2002 - The world will urgently need higher-yield
farming and forestry to protect its wildlife habitats and wild species as
demands for food, feed, timber and paper double in the 21st century. That
message was endorsed today by a remarkably broad coalition of food,
environmental, farming and forestry experts, including two Nobel Peace
Prize laureates, who are inviting their colleagues worldwide to co-sign a
declaration in favor of high-yield conservation.
"Growing more crops and tree per acre leaves more land for Nature," said
Dr. Norman Borlaug, 1970 Nobel Peace Prize laureate at the declaration's
kickoff press conference. "We cannot choose between feeding malnourished
children and saving endangered wild species. Without higher yields,
peasant farmers will destroy the wildlands and species to keep their
children from starving. Sustainably higher yields of crops and trees are
the only visible way to save both."
The declaration's founding signers include Borlaug; Nobel Peace Prize
laureate Oscar Arias; Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore; 2001 World
Food Prize winner Per Pinstrup-Andersen; Eugene Lapointe, President of
the IWMC World Conservation Trust; James Lovelock, originator of the Gaia
Hypothesis; and former U.S. Senator George McGovern, until recently
U.S.Ambassador to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization.
The group also took out national ads in the Washington Post, Washington
Times and Christian Science Monitor, to launch the global web-site signup
for their "Declaration in Support of Protecting Nature With High-yield
Farming and Forestry" at http://www.HighYieldConservation.org.
World population growth is tapering off, but may still increase 50 percent
from today's 6 billion people before it peaks.
Couples worldwide are having fewer children, but they are also demanding
high-quality diets for their kids and pets. Wood is the world's most
environmentally friendly building material, and paper is a key to
literacy, economic growth and lifestyle choices. Yet the world is already
farming 37 percent of its land area, and the wild forests are what are
left over after humans harvest their food and forest products.
The Declaration signers recommend advances in biology, ecology, chemistry
and technology, to boost yields wherever this can be sustainably achieved.
They note that billions of people will be living in or near the Third
World forests that are home to three-fourths of the world's species;
without higher yields on their marginal lands, they would have to exploit
the wildlands. High-tech farming and tree planting on the world's best
soils will be needed to supply food and forest product imports to
densely-populated countries such as China and India.
"Right now, too many environmental groups are pushing low-yielding,
low-input systems -- such as organic farming -- in the belief that
environmental purity is the primary goal," warned Dr. Borlaug. "But what
good is pure farming if it takes over all of the planet's land area? We
need a balance of responsible, high-yielding technologies on our farms so
we can produce the food we need and leave more of the natural landscape
Dr. Patrick Moore, a founder and former Director of Greenpeace, echoed
these points adding that high yields are as important in forestry as in
farming. "Managed forests and high-yield tree plantations can produce up
to 20 times as much timber as the same area of natural forest," stated Dr.
Moore. "This helps reduce the pressures on the world's remaining natural
forests. Forests contain the majority of the world's species, so practices
that reduce the area of forest used for both forestry and agriculture make
a positive contribution to protecting biodiversity."
For more information, and to read the growing list of supporters, please