Mapping human land use

world map

Around the world, 15 million square kilometers of land are used for growing crops—all together, that’s about the size of South America. 32 million square kilometers of land around the world are used for pasture—an area about the size of Africa.

Across the globe, most land that is suitable for agriculture is already used for that purpose.

(The maps on the next pages provide a glimpse at land used for growing crops in the United States over the past 200 years.)

But Earth's population is projected to rise to 9 billion people by 2050, and we all need food. What can we do?