Next Article in Journal
Macro Level Modeling of a Tubular Solid Oxide Fuel Cell
Next Article in Special Issue
Cassava: The Drought, War and Famine Crop in a Changing World
Previous Article in Journal
Education for a Sustainable Future: Strategies of the New Hindu Religious Movements
Previous Article in Special Issue
Sustainability, Food Security, and Development Aid after the Food Crisis: Assessing Aid Strategies across Donor Contexts
Sustainability 2010, 2(11), 3520-3548; doi:10.3390/su2113520

Ecosystem Services and Food Security: Economic Perspectives on Environmental Sustainability

College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Michigan State University, 131 Natural Resources Building, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
Received: 26 October 2010 / Revised: 10 November 2010 / Accepted: 16 November 2010 / Published: 17 November 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Security and Environmental Sustainability)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [250 KB, 24 February 2015; original version 24 February 2015]   |   Browse Figures


Food security in developing countries depends in part on the sustainable use of natural resources. Food security is usually examined through three dimensions, namely the availability, access, and utilization of food. Ecosystems directly and indirectly support each of these dimensions through the provision of critical ecosystem services that facilitate agricultural production, create income-generating opportunities, and provide energy for cooking. However, in some cases, household uses of natural resources undermine particular elements of food security, hindering national poverty reduction strategies and threatening the sustainability of critical ecosystem functions. I examine the role of ecosystem services in rural food security through the lens of its three dimensions, and highlight the tensions that stem from household-level interactions and uses. In some cases, uses of resources and services that support the access and utilization dimensions may undermine the ecosystem functions that support food availability. The conclusions underscore the importance for the integration of ecosystem services into food security plans and poverty reduction strategies in developing countries.
Keywords: food security; ecosystem services; environmental sustainability; international development food security; ecosystem services; environmental sustainability; international development
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Share & Cite This Article

Further Mendeley | CiteULike
Export to BibTeX |
EndNote |
MDPI and ACS Style

Richardson, R.B. Ecosystem Services and Food Security: Economic Perspectives on Environmental Sustainability. Sustainability 2010, 2, 3520-3548.

View more citation formats

Related Articles

Article Metrics

For more information on the journal, click here


[Return to top]
Sustainability EISSN 2071-1050 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert