Ministry of the Environment principal scientist, Nancy Golubiewski, is one of 50 land system scientists from around the world to author a report that has just been published in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
The Ministry said the report identifies 10 facts that speak to the relationship people have with the land itself on a physical level as well as the social, economic, cultural, environmental, and spiritual implications of how land use decisions are made and by whom.
“I contributed to this paper in my capacity as a Fellow of the Global Land Programme,” says Ms Golubiewski (pictured).
“We were brought together to synthesize a core set of principles from the last two decades of land systems science research to serve as a foundation for how we can use land to achieve sustainability (and perhaps challenge some conventional wisdom or misconceptions along the way).
“Importantly, this shifts the focus from defining a supposed optimal sustainable land use towards recognising the multiple values, goals, trade-offs, and impacts of land use in order to intentionally progress toward sustainability.”
Where we live, the place we call home, may seem a simple concept. Yet land, a combined social and ecological system, is complex, the Ministry said in a statement.
“How we use land is among the most important decisions humans make. We live on a used planet—which can make distinguishing natural and built environments much more difficult than it would seem at first blush; land systems science would challenge the separation and recognises that people, and their activities, are a part of nature and environmental systems.”
While some land is more vegetated and some more impervious (or artificial), people have affected- and depend upon (directly or indirectly) – virtually all Earth’s terrestrial ecosystems, the Ministry said.
“Land is a finite resource. But it’s so much more than the resources we extract from it; the ecosystem services humans rely upon extend far beyond the tangible and quantifiable. Land is also a fundamental component of the Earth system, integral to how it functions. Land use maps the future of people and planet.”
Want to know more?
To read the report and full study visit: