Introduction

In this volume, we have explored challenges to humanity's future access to crucial resources: land, water, energy, and minerals. In each case, modest to severe constraints are anticipated within the coming decades. To ensure sustainable development, therefore, we cannot continue present trends, but need to change direction in light of the expected growth in world population and welfare. Exploring potential solutions and directions for sustainable development is an important research activity: what can we expect, how can we meet tomorrow's needs, and what problems will we encounter? For each of the resources, there is a research community active in providing such information by compiling databases, building models, and applying those models to various future scenarios.

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