Mario Herrero

Mario Herrero
Cornell University | CU · College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

MSc, PhD

About

416
Publications
426,720
Reads
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35,981
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Introduction
Mario Herrero is Professor in the Department of Global Development, and a Cornell Atkinson Scholar at the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability, Cornell University
Additional affiliations
July 2011 - August 2013
Colorado State University
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
July 1999 - December 2012
Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research
Position
  • Programe Manager, Climate Change and Sustainable Livestock Futures
January 1996 - October 2008
The University of Edinburgh
Position
  • Senior Researcher

Publications

Publications (416)
Article
Future technologies and systemic innovation are critical for the profound transformation the food system needs. These innovations range from food production, land use and emissions, all the way to improved diets and waste management. Here, we identify these technologies, assess their readiness and propose eight action points that could accelerate t...
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To operationalize the great food system transformation and ensure its sustainability, five areas of research and action require more attention: economic and structural costs; political economy; diversity of cultural norms; equity and social justice; and governance and decision support tools.
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Multiple cropping, defined as harvesting more than once a year, is a widespread land management strategy in tropical and subtropical agriculture. It is a way of intensifying agricultural production and diversifying the crop mix for economic and environmental benefits. Here we present the first global gridded data set of multiple cropping systems an...
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Increased efforts are required to prevent further losses to terrestrial biodiversity and the ecosystem services that it provides1,2. Ambitious targets have been proposed, such as reversing the declining trends in biodiversity³; however, just feeding the growing human population will make this a challenge⁴. Here we use an ensemble of land-use and bi...
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Food system innovations will be instrumental to achieving multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, major innovation breakthroughs can trigger profound and disruptive changes, leading to simultaneous and interlinked reconfigurations of multiple parts of the global food system. The emergence of new technologies or social solutions, the...
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Background Slowing climate change is crucial to the future wellbeing of human societies and the greater environment. Current beef production systems in the USA are a major source of negative environmental impacts and raise various animal welfare concerns. Nevertheless, beef production provides a food source high in protein and many nutrients as wel...
Article
Diversity in agricultural systems is often presented as having benefits for multiple purposes like food and nutrition security in low- and middle-income countries. Our review aims to give an overview of the strength and direction of the diversity-food security relationship as presented in research published since 2010, based on a comprehensive sear...
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Background National food-based dietary guidelines (FBDGs) are generally designed from a human health perspective and often disregard sustainability aspects. Circular food production systems are a promising solution to achieve sustainable healthy diets. In such systems, closing nutrient cycles where possible and minimising external inputs contribute...
Chapter
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So how do we reverse the growing carbon, land, and toxic chemical footprint of contemporary AVCs; expand the nutrient-rich food supply; and induce more equitable, inclusive, healthier food environments—and thus consumption patterns—so as to navigate from today’s unsustainable and precarious AVCs to a warmer, more urban, more African, and shock-pron...
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As we look 25–50 years, or more, into the future, we must also keep in mind how very different tomorrow’s world will inevitably look. Three big, inevitable changes stand out, with serious implications for AFS and AVC innovations.
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The complex pathways from innovation to impact mean that unintended spilloverSpillovers effects on non-target objectives are always likely. This generates a third reason—in addition to accelerators and complementarity in pursuit of target objectives—why socio-technical bundlesBundle/bundling are important. Herrero et al. (2020, 2021) demonstrated t...
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Scientific discovery is neither linear nor predictable. The time it takes to develop breakthrough technologies varies enormously among application domains. Some basic scientific discoveries remain elusive and will need continued, concerted funding and attention in the years and decades ahead. In some cases, the stumbling block is the scientific adv...
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Technological and institutional innovationsin agri-food systems (AFSs) over the past century have brought dramatic advances in human well-being worldwide.
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A key implication of the abundance of promising technologies in various stages of development is that AFS transformation is less likely to be limited by science-based discovery than by human agency . What key players do in response to the wealth of options they face will ultimately determine the path(s) we follow.
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Repeated episodes throughout history remind us that AFSs episodically undergo dramatic transformations, most of them purposeful—guided by incentives prevailing at the time—rather than purely random changes. Typically, these changes have taken decades or centuries. A major shock, like the COVID-19 pandemic, may help spark the more rapid transformati...
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One might reasonably invoke Dickens in describing AFSs and AVCs today: “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
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As detailed in Marshall et al. (Quinn Marshall, Jessica Fanzo, Christopher B. Barrett, Andrew D. Jones, Anna Herforth, and Rebecca McLaren, “Building a global food systems typology: A new tool for reducing complexity in food systems analysis,” Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, vol. 5 (November 2021): 746512), the food systemsFoodsystemstypolog...
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Although the role of livestock in future food systems is debated, animal proteins are unlikely to completely disappear from our diet. Grasslands are a key source of primary productivity for livestock, and feed‐food competition is often limited on such land. Previous research on the potential for sustainable grazing has focused on restricted geograp...
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The Pacific food system has become progressively more integrated into global food regimes. This integration has had impacts on availability and consumption of food, population health, and vulnerability to external drivers. We describe major elements of the contemporary food system to provide a foundation for analysis of food system transitions and...
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Background Heat stress in animals is one of the major climate change impacts on domesticated livestock raised in both intensive and extensive production systems. At temperatures higher than an animal's thermoneutral zone, heat stress can affect liveweight gain, milk yield, and fertility. Animal welfare may also be negatively affected by heat stress...
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Global food systems are currently facing unprecedented challenges with respect to production and nutritional targets, inclusivity and environmental footprint. Several recent reports highlight the need for major, rapid reconfiguration of our food systems as a result. International publicly funded agricultural research for development will play an in...
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CONTEXT The COVID-19 pandemic caused unprecedented global disruption and continues to wreak havoc. Dire predictions were made about the risks to smallholder farmers in lower- and middle- income, but hard data have been lacking. We present the results from 9201 interviews with smallholder farmers from seven countries. OBJECTIVE The objectives are t...
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Human behaviour is complex and multifaceted, and is studied by a broad range of disciplines across the social and natural sciences. To mark our 5th anniversary, we asked leading scientists in some of the key disciplines that we cover to share their vision of the future of research in their disciplines. Our contributors underscore how important it i...
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It is not known whether dietary guidelines proposing a limited intake of animal protein are compatible with the adoption of circular food systems. Using a resource-allocation model, we compared the effects of circularity on the supply of animal-source nutrients in Europe with the nutritional requirements of the EAT-Lancet reference diet. We found t...
Chapter
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Because AFSs are diverse, dynamic, and evolve continuously, they require massive continuous investment to enable ongoing discovery and adaptation merely to prevent backsliding.
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Satisfying China’s food demand without harming the environment is one of the greatest sustainability challenges for the coming decades. Here we provide a comprehensive forward-looking assessment of the environmental impacts of China’s growing demand on the country itself and on its trading partners. We find that the increasing food demand, especial...
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A comment by Dr. Rigolot acknowledged the scientific value of our recent study on livestock methane emissions and mitigation potentials, while highlighting that our study should better “cultivate synergies between production and more ambitious demand‐side efforts.” The author's comment questioned our narrative to be inadvertently (not intentionally...
Article
Agriculture is the largest single source of global anthropogenic methane (CH 4 ) emissions, with ruminants the dominant contributor. Livestock CH 4 emissions are projected to grow another 30% by 2050 under current policies, yet few countries have set targets or are implementing policies to reduce emissions in absolute terms. The reason for this lim...
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Extensive literature describes the importance of food environments (FEs) as a driver of food choices and nutrition outcomes; yet existing FE frameworks do not adequately capture the diversity of FEs relevant to the Pacific Region. This limits identification of opportunities in food systems to reduce the multiple burden of malnutrition. We present a...
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Food systems that support healthy diets in sustainable, resilient, just, and equitable ways can engender progress in eradicating poverty and malnutrition; protecting human rights; and restoring natural resources. Food system activities have contributed to great gains for humanity but have also led to significant challenges, including hunger, poor d...
Article
The United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) is an important moment to garner political and financial attention to the challenges that food systems face. It is a difficult moment with many competing national and global priorities including massive inequities, rapid climate change and a global pandemic. It will be important for the UNFSS to build...
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In recent decades there has been a sustained and substantial shift in human diets across the globe towards including more livestock-derived foods. Continuing debates scrutinize how these dietary shifts affect human health, the natural environment, and livelihoods. However, amidst these debates there remain unanswered questions about how demand for...
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Anthropogenic climate change is expected to have major impacts on domesticated livestock, including increased heat stress in animals in both intensive and extensive livestock systems. We estimate the changes in the number of extreme heat stress days per year for animals raised outdoors that can be expected in the major domesticated animal species (...
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Investments in animal health and Veterinary Services can have a measurable impact on the health of people and the environment. These investments require a baseline metric that describes the burden of animal health and welfare in order to justify and prioritise resource allocation and from which to measure the impact of interventions. This paper is...
Technical Report
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Livestock are a critically important component of the food system, however, the sector needs a profound transformation to ensure that it contributes to a rapid transition towards sustainable food systems. This paper reviews and synthesizes the evidence available on changes in demand for livestock products in the last few decades, and the multiple s...
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The livestock sector is the largest source of anthropogenic methane emissions, and is projected to increase in the future with increased demand for livestock products. Here, we compare livestock methane emissions and emission intensities, defined by the amount of methane emitted per unit of animal proteins, estimated by different methodologies, and...
Technical Report
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Ensuring sustainable food systems requires vastly reducing its environmental and health costs while making healthy and sustainable food affordable to all. One of the central problems of current food systems is that many of the costs of harmful foods are externalized, i.e. are not reflected in market prices. At the same time, the benefits of healthf...
Preprint
The demand for livestock-derived foods has steadily grown over the past decades and rising incomes and human populations are expected to see demand further increase. It is unclear if current livestock feed resources are adequately prepared to meet future demand especially given the looming challenges of climate change. Many feeds such as grasses, c...
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A Correction to this paper has been published: https://doi.org/10.1038/s43016-021-00224-w
Preprint
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Several dietary guidelines are developed that propose limiting the intake of animal protein to stay within planetary boundaries and improve human health. Simultaneously, circular food systems are receiving significant attention in the European Union as an option to improve the current food system. In a circular system, animals are solely fed with l...
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The potential impacts of climate change on current livestock systems worldwide is a major concern, and yet the topic is covered to a limited extent in global reports such as the ones produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In this article, we review the risk of climate-related impacts along the land-based livestock food supply ch...
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Grasslands absorb and release carbon dioxide (CO2), emit methane (CH4) from grazinglivestock, and emit nitrous oxide (N2O) from soils. Little is known about how thefluxesof these three greenhouse gases, from managed and natural grasslands worldwide, havecontributed to past climate change, or the roles of managed pastures versus natural grass-lands....
Article
Coupling technological advances with sociocultural and policy changes can transform agri-food systems to address pressing climate, economic, environmental, health and social challenges. An international expert panel reports on options to induce contextualized combinations of innovations that can balance multiple goals.
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The gap between milk demand and domestic supply in Tanzania is large and projected to widen. Meeting such demand through local production of affordable milk presents an opportunity to improve the welfare of producers and market agents through the income and employment generated along the value chain (VC). Efforts to maximize milk yields, production...
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Increasing population, change in consumption habits, and climate change will likely increase the competition for freshwater resources in the future. Exploring ways to improve water productivity especially in food and livestock systems is important for tackling the future water challenge. Here we combine detailed data on feed use and livestock produ...
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Background The global food system is directly linked to international health and sustainability targets, such as the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, Paris Agreement climate change targets, and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. These targets are already threatened by current dietary patterns and will be further threatened by 2050 becaus...
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Climate change is threatening food security in many tropical countries, where a large proportion of food is produced by vulnerable smallholder farmers. Interventions are available to offset many of the negative impacts of climate change on agriculture, and they can be tailored to local conditions often through relative modest investments. However,...