Can Ecosystem Services Contribute to Food Security?

Authored by: Alison G. Power

Routledge Handbook of Ecosystem Services

Print publication date:  January  2016
Online publication date:  January  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138025080
eBook ISBN: 9781315775302
Adobe ISBN:


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The concept of food security encompasses many dimensions, including availability of food, access to food, adequacy in terms of nutrition and food safety, and acceptability according to cultural norms. An even more comprehensive definition includes food sovereignty and sustainability as essential elements of food security (De Schutter, 2010; Chappell and LaValle, 2011). Ericksen (2008) notes that the concept of availability itself includes at least three components: production, distribution, and exchange. Despite these multiple dimensions, most discourse about food security focuses on availability or, even more narrowly, agricultural production. Yet more than three decades ago, Amartya Sen noted that, “starvation is the characteristic of some people not having enough food to eat. It is not the characteristic of there being not enough food to eat. While the latter can be a cause of the former, it is but one of many possible causes” (Sen, 1981).

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