[ There are so many nations grabbing land from other nations that I gave up trying to summarize this excellent book and just used a few paragraphs from NewScientist. Having to import food is a clear sign of being over carrying capacity, and it probably won’t last, because citizens will rise up as energy decline increases starvation in their country, or nearby nations invade. One of the many reasons Rome failed was that one of their main sources of food was Carthage in North Africa. After barbarians conquered Carthage the send less and eventually almost no food to Rome, and the population there fell from 1 million to about 10,000 people.
Alice Friedemann www.energyskeptic.com author of “When Trucks Stop Running: Energy and the Future of Transportation”, 2015, Springer and “Crunch! Whole Grain Artisan Chips and Crackers”. Podcasts: KunstlerCast 253, KunstlerCast278, Peak Prosperity]
Fred Pearce. June 29, 2012. Stealing the Earth. NewScientist.
From Midwest “missionaries” to Wall Street speculators, investors are grabbing massive swathes of common land, especially in Africa, where the great common lands – the swamps, savannahs and forests – are being fenced off in a rush for land, the 21st-century equivalent of Europe’s enclosure of once-common land that started in the Middle Ages.
It’s happening in Brazil, Paraguay, Mali, Cambodia, Ethiopia, and many other countries. Oxfam estimates 850,000 square miles of mostly common land, equal to France, Spain, Germany, Italy and the UK combined – have been “grabbed” worldwide in the past five years. But in truth nobody knows. Some governments allow this because they see any investment as good for development. That’s why dirt-poor South Sudan handed over a tenth of its land to foreigners.
Countries like South Korea, Saudi Arabia and China began buying foreign land to keep their peoples fed.
The biggest prize is the Guinea savannah zone, 4 million square kilometres of bush and grasslands between central Africa’s tropical rainforests and the desert to the north and south. It stretches from the Atlantic shores of Senegal east to Sudan, then south through Kenya and Tanzania to Zambia, Mozambique and Angola. The World Bank calls this arc “the world’s last large reserve of under-used land”. But it is also home to half a billion farmers and pastoralists. They are among the world’s poorest people and their numbers are increasing fast.
Fred Pearce is the author of “The Landgrabbers: The new fight over who owns the earth“.