Showing results for: Land use and land use change
The EU uses more than its fair share of global land; in 2010 the amount of land needed to satisfy our consumption of agricultural goods and services was 43% greater than the land available within its boundaries. This report stresses the responsibility that the EU has to measure, monitor and reduce its global land footprint.
There is increasing evidence that human demands on natural systems are accelerating and could affect the stability and services provided by these systems. This paper aims to aid understanding of the temporal and spatial variability of human pressures on natural systems, which provides a foundation for environmental damage mitigation. Recent advances in remote sensing have allowed great development in mapping of human pressures, particularly in forested areas. Other pressures, such as roads and pasture lands, have by comparison been overlooked.
In this modelling study, the authors examine potential trade-offs between sufficient food provisioning in the future and sustaining biodiversity. On the one hand they find that cropland expansion increases food security, particularly in areas which are currently struggling with access to safe and nutritious food.
Among climate mitigation options, afforestation offers its carbon sequestration potential at a moderate cost, and therefore might be used at a large scale in the future. As suitable land is limited though, competition of land for forest with crop and pastureland might drive food prices up.
In this paper, land change scenarios are modelled that include biodiversity protection or afforestation for carbon sequestration as an explicit demand which competes with demand for food and feed production.
Future demand for food and for land is set to grow. A key question is therefore: how can we most productively use land for food, in order balance the multiple competing demands for the ecosystem services it provides? One way this has been investigated previously is by looking at crop yields and how to increase them. Another way, focussing instead on the consumption side, has looked at the metric of dietary land footprint.
In this analysis presented in the journal Nature, four conservation scientists warn against the current trend of over-reporting on climate change’s impacts on biodiversity. Instead, they find that by far the biggest drivers of biodiversity loss are overexploitation (the harvesting of species from the wild at rates that cannot be compensated for by reproduction or regrowth) and agriculture.
Alternative cropping systems such as organic or conservation agriculture are often expected to lead to enhanced soil carbon storage as compared with conventional systems, and therefore to hold potential to contribute to climate change mitigation via carbon sequestration.
This report by members of the Environmental Pillar and Stop Climate Chaos aims to better inform discussions across civil society, media and government, and at EU policy level, regarding Ireland’s climate, energy, and wider environmental responsibilities.
This paper looks at the agricultural land requirements and GHG emissions associated with supplying Western Europe with food in 2050 from its own land base. It modelled a range of food consumption scenarios based on different ‘protein futures’ to evaluate land use and GHG emissions taking into account both production and demand side mitigation options.
According to this UK study there is a potential for improving soil carbon assessments if inventories increasingly assess soils below the current common level of 30 cm. The researchers estimate that over double the amount of carbon is stored in all UK grassland soils when looking at a depth of 1 metre compared to estimates where only the top 30 cm of soil is considered.
Innovative, climate-smart soil-management can be developed to improve soil fertility; these can increase agricultural production and food security while contributing to climate mitigation through carbon sequestration. The authors propose the solution of recreating conditions that lead to the formation of ADE (African Dark Earths).
119 countries pledged to reduce their GHG emissions in the 2015 Paris Agreement but exactly how much mitigation is needed by each sector to meet the 2-degree global target still largely unknown. This paper by Wollenberg et al., provides an estimate of how much GHG mitigation should be expected of the agricultural sector; compares this with what current plausible mitigation options could deliver – and finds a major discrepancy between the two.
The last decade has witnessed major crises in both food and energy security across the world. One response to the challenges of climate change and energy supply has been the development of crops to be used for biofuels. But, as this book shows, this can divert agricultural land from food production to energy crops, thus affecting food security, particularly in less developed countries.