Visualizing the world’s water security threat
Global croplands play a central role in feeding the world’s population. As the population keeps growing (though with declining growth rates that suggest an end of growth towards the end of the century), the importance of croplands for water and food security has become a central focus of research.
The US Geological Survey estimates that there are 1.87 billion hectares of global croplands, which means that on average one hectare sustains food production for about four people in the world. The three most populous countries, China, India, and the USA, also have the highest net cropland area (albeit the largest country by population, China, only comes third in terms of cropland area). However, the overall distribution is much more uneven and less related to where most people live on the planet.