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Land for Food

In an earlier post, I commented on the fear that we are overcultivating the earth, suggesting that such fears are exaggerated.  Here’s the way the worriers word it:

More land was converted to agriculture since 1945 than in the 18th and 19th centuries combined.

That does sound scary.  It seems alarming.  But I have no idea if it is or it isn’t.  I’m also not sure how we could know such a thing.  Who gathered that data from the 1700s?  I did finally find some recent data from the UN, here.  According to these data, arable land and permanent land under cultivation (which appears to be equal to all land that is cropped) has risen 13% since 1961, from 1.366 billion hectares, to 1.541 billion hectares.  Is that alarming?  I report.  You decide.  You can go here and go country by country or region by region.  In the US, for example, arable land has declined from 182 million hectares to 178 million hectares.