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and thus provide guidance on how to reduce biodiversity effects. Reduction in the overall intensity of agriculture has been proposed as a technique to help restore agricultural ecosystems and retain ecosystem services. For example, less intensive organic production systems have been identified by some as more environmentally benign. The "ecologi­cal" emphasis implicit in ecosystem service approaches has been questioned by those who favor increasing intensity of production in some areas and thus conserving other areas for off-farm biodiversity (land sparing) (Green et al., 2005; Vandermeer and Perfecto, 2005). This debate may miss im­portant opportunities for achieving win-win solutions in­corporating productivity and ecosystem services (Pretty et al., 2006). The debate continues. Environmental consequences of the increase in food miles
Increased   geographical   distance   between  producer   and consumer, together with the regional specialization of ag­riculture has resulted in the availability of a wider selection of apparently cheap food for consumers, but at the cost of longer transport with the attendant consequences of greater energy use and deleterious effect on global climate. Distanc­ing and regional specialization has encouraged less diverse production  systems,  complicating recycling  of nutrients and carbon from animal husbandry back to crop produc­tion and from demand chains back to agriculture. Further, distancing consumption from production hinders feedback from the ecosystem to the human community, affecting the land use, thus impeding adaptive management (Vergunst, 2003; Deutsch, 2004; Sundkvist et al., 2005).
     The increase in food transportation has a significant im­pact on energy use, climate change, pollution, traffic conges­tion and accidents. Road transport generates six times more CO2 emissions compared with shipping and airfreight 50 times more (Jones, 2001). The dramatic increase in trans­portation has resulted in a rise in the amount of CO2 emit­ted by food transport (Smith et al., 2005). The cost of food miles is £9bn a year to the UK. This is greater than the to­tal contribution of the agricultural sector to GDP (£6.4bn). Several studies show that shorter supply chains would be less detrimental to the environment. Transportation, espe­cially for fresh products, is responsible for a considerable proportion of the total energy consumption, exceeding the energy consumed for cultivation of apples, for example (Jones, 2002). The use of fossil energy and climatic effects of transportation of more local food were smaller, even when taking into account the smaller amounts transported at a time (Carlsson-Kanyama, 2004; Poikolainen, 2004; Gran-stedt et al., 2005). The external cost of transportation in local food systems (food basket sourced from within 20 km of retail outlet) would be less than one tenth of the current one in the UK, depending on transport vehicles (Pretty et al., 2005). In the USA, depending on the system and truck type, the conventional food system used 4 to 17 times more fuel and released 5 to 17 times more CO  than the Iowa-based regional and local systems (Pirog et al., 2001).
     The   environmental   consequences   of  distancing   are complex. If food supply chains are identical except for transportation distance, reducing transportation increases sustainability (Smith et al., 2005). However, differences


in food supply systems often imply tradeoffs among vari­ous ecological, economic or social sustainability concerns. Transport mode, transport efficiency (vehicle size and load­ing), differences in food production systems and food stor­age, all affect the final outcome. The total effect depends, for example, on the energy input to production and post-har­vest processes. If production is clearly less energy-intensive when performed outside the region (Cowell and Parkinson, 2003), as it can be for greenhouse vegetables (Poikolainen, 2004) and for cereals with higher yields and lower energy need for drying in warmer regions (Sinkkonen, 2002), the benefits of reduced transportation may be more than offset by the increased energy costs for production. Therefore, a simple calculation of food miles is not a valid indicator for sustainability (Seppälä et al., 2002).

3.2 Economic Impacts of Agriculture and AKST within NAE
All changes in agricultural production in the NAE over the last 50 years have economic drivers and consequences, from the field to the "plate". This sub-chapter looks at the changes that have occurred in production systems, partly as a result of advances in AKST but also due to other techno­logical and societal changes that have occurred during this period.

3.2.1 Economic context linking advances in AKST to production
In the past 50 years agricultural output in NAE has grown more rapidly than demand. (See Chapter 1 and Chapter 2) One result has been a trend for real prices for farm products to fall. (See EU,2003; FAO, 2005; UK, 2005a) The driving force has been improvements in technology. Farmers who did not initially use the new methods have had to adopt them, find a new niche market for their products or face falling real income. Income earned outside farming may cushion this or even make it of no great importance but where these strategies cannot be used, many working farm­ers and their children have had to leave farming. Although rural populations have started to stabilize and more recently to grow in some areas, the decline in the farm labor force in the second part of the 20th Century has been dramatic (Figure. 3-4).
     The pressure upon the centrally planned economies of the eastern European states after the Second World War to adopt technical innovations was enormous. Failure to sup­ply sufficient and reliable food was a major problem for the Soviet Government. Some countries in eastern Europe, such as Poland, retained many very small farm holdings. Here it was more difficult to apply the larger scale invest­ments associated with new farm technology. In contrast, as in Hungary where private holdings were merged into collec­tive farms, large scale farming businesses looked for innova­tion and invested in production related research. A failure to keep pace with AKST technology across the food industry as a whole weakened the relative position of the centrally planned economies to those of the West. Consumers had fewer choices, products were often of lower quality and the centrally planned economies became less able to compete in global markets except by cutting prices. Although substan­tial investments in new technology were made these did not