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35th T.B. Macaulay Lecture

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Lecture
27 September 2012
at the James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen
for interested parties
Professor Jules Pretty

Professor Jules Pretty, OBE, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Essex delivered the 35th T.B. Macaulay Lecture at the James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen on 27 September 2012. Watch it online here.


Over the past half century, agricultural production gains have provided a platform for rural and urban economic growth worldwide. Gains have come from expansion of agriculture as well as intensification on existing lands. It is now becoming clear that agriculture must now increase productivity and outputs substantially, and yet achieve this on existing lands whilst causing minimal environmental damage. This is called sustainable intensification. Recent experience includes successes in crop improvements, agroforestry and soil conservation, conservation agriculture, integrated pest management, horticulture, livestock and fodder crops, aquaculture, and novel policies and partnerships. Food outputs by sustainable intensification can be multiplicative – by which yields per hectare increased by combinations of the use of new and improved varieties and new agronomic-agroecological management, and additive – by which diversification resulted in the emergence of a range of new crops, livestock or fish that added to the existing staples or vegetables already being cultivated. The challenge is now to spread effective processes and lessons to many more millions of farmers and pastoralists.

Jules Pretty is Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Essex, and Professor of Environment and Society. His books include This Luminous Coast (2011), The Earth Only Endures (2007), Environment (4 vols, ed 2006), Agri-Culture (2002) and Regenerating Agriculture (1995). He is a Fellow of the Society of Biology and the Royal Society of Arts, former Deputy-Chair of the government’s Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment (ACRE), and has served on advisory committees for a number of government departments and the Royal Society. He received a 1997 international award from the Indian Ecological Society, was appointed A D White Professor-at-Large by Cornell University from 2001, and is Chief Editor of the International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability. He received an OBE in 2006 for services to sustainable agriculture, and an honorary degree from Ohio State University in 2009.

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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.