Innovating at the food, water, and energy interface

Food, energy, and water (FEW) systems are inexorably linked. Earth's changing climate and increasing competition for finite land resources are creating and amplifying challenges at the FEW nexus. Managing FEW systems to mitigate these negative impacts and stresses is a pressing policy issue. The FEW interface is often managed as three independent systems, missing disruptive opportunities for streamlined integrated management. We contend that existing technologies can be reframed and emerging technologies can be harnessed for integrated FEW management, changing the way that each resource system operates within the broader system. We discuss solutions to three main challenges to integrating FEW system management: resolving spatiotemporal disconnections over multiple scales; closing resource loops; and creating actionable information. Sustainable resource management is critical for humanity, as well as for functioning trade systems and ecological health. Embracing integrated management in FEW systems would enable policy makers and managers to more efficiently and effectively secure critical resource systems in the face of global change.

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