Land use as the key to the solution

Climate change, biodiversity loss and other global crises require new ways of thinking. This is the conclusion reached by 50 leading international land use scientists, including the University of Bern. They urge policymakers to take ten facts into consideration in their decisions.

A report released in February 2022 by 50 leading land use scientists from 20 countries in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) was a call to action for policymakers worldwide seeking to develop sustainable and equitable solutions to our most urgent global challenges. The study is intended as a basis for political measures aimed at addressing challenges such as how to limit the impacts of climate change, design systems for sustainable food and energy production, protect biodiversity, and balance competing claims to land ownership. It includes a checklist with ten basic facts on the subject.

“Global agreements on climate change, biodiversity, and development are increasingly focused on land management as the solution to a long list of challenges,” says Ariane de Bremond, one of the main authors of the study and also Senior Research Scientist at the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) of the University of Bern, and Executive Officer of the Global Land Programme. This research network convened the authors to develop the study. “Land not only deserves a central stage in the relevant Conferences of the Parties (COP), but should also be addressed at a global land summit," says Peter Messerli, Co-Chair of the Global Land Programme, Professor of Sustainable Development and Director of the Wyss Academy at the University of Bern, and co-author of the study.