Irrigated areas grow faster than the population
By: Puy A.
Published in: Ecological Applications
SDGs : SDG 02 | Units: | Time: 2018 | Link
Description: Unfolding regularities between population and irrigated agriculture might increase our capacity to predict their coevolu tion and better ensure food security and environmental welfare. Here I use three different data sets with detailed information at the national level for ~70% of the countries of Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Europe between 1950 and 2017 to show that irrigated areas might grow disproportionally for a given increase in population, e.g., with β > 1. The results are robust across continents, time series, population cut-offs, and variations in the area accounted for irrigation by official institutions and independent scholars. This systematic pattern suggests the existence of an underlying law driving the growth rate of irrigated areas that transcends local particularities and can be well approximated by a power function of population, specially in the case of the Americas, Asia, and Europe. Nonlinearities derived from the open-ended growth rate of irrigated areas should be taken into consideration when designing irrigation policies in order to avoid unexpected environmental costs. © 2018 by the Ecological Society of America