Agricultural expansion vs forests, biodiversity and ecosystem functions

From a recent study by Laurence et al.:

The human population is projected to reach 11 billion this century, with the greatest increases in tropical developing nations. This growth, in concert with rising per-capita consumption, will require large increases in food and biofuel production. How will these megatrends affect tropical terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and biodiversity? The authors of this study foresee (i) major expansion and intensification of tropical agriculture, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa and South America; (ii) continuing rapid loss and alteration of tropical old-growth forests, woodlands, and semi-arid environments; (iii) a pivotal role for new roadways in determining the spatial extent of agriculture; and (iv) intensified conflicts between food production and nature conservation. The state that key priorities are to improve technologies and policies that promote more ecologically efficient food production while optimizing the allocation of lands to conservation and agriculture.

More comprehensive information can be found here:

and the paper:

William F. Laurance, Jeffrey Sayer, and Kenneth Cassman (2013). Agricultural expansion and its impacts on tropical nature. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 2013 Dec 30. pii: S0169-5347(13)00292-9. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2013.12.001.