Although it is recognised that Thomas Robert Malthus was wrong when he posited a contradiction between population increase and agricultural growth, there are increasing signs that he could be proved right in the future. Perhaps Malthus was too late and too early in his prediction?

He was too late, because he did not foresee the shift from land-based resources to fossil fuels, outing an end to the limits of agricultural growth, at least temporarily; and he was too early to witness that fossil fuels would come up against their own limits in terms of supply as well as in terms of global warming.

This study deals with land-based resources and the role they play in the global socio-ecological metabolic regime, both now and in the future. In particular, the controversial use of agrofuels as a solution to coming scarcity is subjected to close scrutiny.

chapter |3 pages

The argument

The return of Malthus

part I|63 pages

Land use and agrofuels

chapter 1|12 pages

The importance of land

chapter 3|27 pages

Regulating land use for agrofuels

The case of Brazil

part II|37 pages

Ecologically unequal exchange

part III|31 pages

Environmental load displacements

chapter 7|13 pages

Obvious and obscure displacements

chapter 8|16 pages

The argument revisited

The return to the land