I am delighted to welcome you to Food and Energy Security, a new open access, multidisciplinary journal, which will publish high-quality and high-impact original research on agricultural crop and forest productivity, aimed at the improvement of food and energy security, two of the most important global issues facing humanity. Given the rise in human population and the inevitable consequences of climate change, the challenges of achieving secure and sustainable supplies of both food and energy are Herculean. Within the next 20 years we will need to produce 50% more food and we will also need 50% more energy, and 30% more fresh water (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7951838.stm). Many developing countries are particularly vulnerable and are often the least well equipped to respond to, or manage, such challenges.
The combustion of fossil fuels is a major contributor to climate change, which is itself a major threat to food security. Renewable energy, including bioenergy, can therefore make a major contribution to ensuring both food and energy security (Parry and Jing 2011), although the growing of crops for bioenergy or biofuels is often viewed as conflicting with food production (Walker 2010). Attractive approaches are to use non-food parts of crops for bioenergy, or to grow and exploit plants for bioenergy on marginal land, thus avoiding competition between food and energy production.
There is an urgent need to develop long-term strategic programmes of research with integrated and sustainable approaches that will increase both production per unit area and the resource use efficiency of agricultural crops and forestry. This will involve not only the exploitation of the burgeoning genomic data, genetic approaches (Takeda and Matsuoka 2008), biotechnology (Edwards and Batley 2010) and the dissection of complex traits, but also a robust understanding of plant performance within the cropping system and the interactions with both biotic and abiotic factors (Azevedo and Lea 2011). The identification of novel genes can be exploited in new cultivars for practical crop improvement. Science and technology has already delivered some technologies that can contribute to solutions, however, their implementation requires political will and the acceptance of societies. This is currently patchy at best (e.g. limited penetration of GM crops; Atkinson et al. 2012) and the failure to adopt is rarely based on the scientific case or meaningful risk analysis. Further advances will be able to offer potential solutions but their translation and execution requires political will and acceptance by the population at large.
With the launch of this open access, multidisciplinary journal, our intention is to offer a forum for the discussion of the most important advances in this field and promote an integrative approach of scientific disciplines. We invite authors to submit their best work to the journal and in return will guarantee high standards of peer review combined with swift, broad and effective online publication via our publisher's cutting-edge content platform, Wiley Online Library. Primary research articles should report hypothesis-driven investigations that provide new insights into mechanisms and processes that determine productivity and properties for exploitation. Review articles are welcome but they must be critical in approach and provide particularly novel and far reaching insights. We also intend Food and Energy Security to publish special issues that are focused on specific topics. The Editorial Team would be interested in hearing from appropriately experienced researchers interested in co-editing specific special issues.