Too much food or not enough food?

Plants are essential food for all living organisms, including man, to survive. In the Ecosystems section, we saw they are the basis of the food pyramid. Farming began 7-8,000 years ago, when men stopped living a nomadic life, began to live in stable communities, and started to produce food by selecting the plants that were fittest for periodical sowing and harvesting.
During the last century, the farming techniques have developed so much as to increase crops by almost five times. The increase in the availability of food has been, however, very different in the different countries and regions of the world. In developing countries, over 800 million people still suffer from hunger or malnutrition, while in industrialised countries more and more people are overeating or overweight. In both cases, this food imbalance negatively affects both human health and productivity. In fact, natural products have maintained their market share and are expected to even increase it over the next few decades. These products have the great advantage of being renewable: unlike modern plastics and man-made fibres, which are produced from non-renewable resources (oil, coal), they are not bound to disappear. A cotton plantation grows all over again every year, as well as a forest can renew itself, though more slowly, after the trees have been cut.

Special reports

From the Multimedia section

  • life

    Interview with Maurizio Casiraghi

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    ecosystems

    Fred Pierce on agriculture and its impacts

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    ecosystems

    Beech forest

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  • ecosystems

    Deforestation

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    ecosystems

    Deforestation 2

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    ecosystems

    Deforestation in the Amazon

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  • ecosystems

    Forest

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    ecosystems

    Medicines from the forest

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    life

    Dionaea

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  • life

    Interview with Maurizio Casiraghi

    Look

    ecosystems

    Fred Pierce on agriculture and its impacts

    Look
  • ecosystems

    Beech forest

    Look

    ecosystems

    Deforestation

    Look
  • ecosystems

    Deforestation 2

    Look

    ecosystems

    Deforestation in the Amazon

    Look
  • life

    Interview with Maurizio Casiraghi

    Look
  • ecosystems

    Fred Pierce on agriculture and its impacts

    Look
  • ecosystems

    Beech forest

    Look

Facts

  • 16 May 2011

    A heavenly garden

    In Cornwall huge sphere greenhouses were built...

    17 May 2011

    Flour from forests

    Bread and flour are staple foods for many cultures around the world. It is possible to produce flour from cereals…

  • Myths and legends of the forest

    The dark and mysterious shadows of the forest are populated by...

    16 May 2011

    The forest has its own seasons

    Even if the temperature of this ecosystem is stable all...

  • 23 February 2012

    CO2 “eating” trees

    If a tree “eats” CO2 and produces oxygen it is easy to understand the importance it has in reducing the…

    16 May 2011

    Energy from palm trees

    Oils that are obtained from palm trees can be used as alternatives to fossil fuels and their use is about…