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Rear view of man walking along a path lined with t 2022 03 04 02 38 09 utcThere’s a ubiquitous crop that slurps up unsustainable quantities of water, gets doused in chemicals and fertilizers to maintain its growth—and yet doesn’t provide us with any food. This crop is cotton, and it covers 34.5 million hectares of arable farmland around the world.

Now, a team of Swedish researchers propose that if we replace a share of this crop with fibers made from the wood of fast-growing poplar trees, we could free up millions of hectares of cotton land for growing food instead.