Change In Land Use

Sources:
Dutia, Suren. “Agtech: Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable Growth,” April 2014, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
WRI, 2011, CAIT 2.0. 2014 http://cait2.wri.org
Rockström et al, 2009, Planetary Boundaries: Exploring the Safe Operating Space for Humanity, Ecology and Society 14(2)
Foley et al, 2005, Global consequences of land use, Science 309

In the last few decades, the global change in land use has been driven primarily by agricultural activities. This rapid expansion and intensification has affected converted ecosystems, and poses a threat to biodiversity, the planet’s climate system and its hydrological cycles. Currently, we are using about 12% of the world’s land surface for crop production. The proposed planetary boundary is to exceed no more than 15%, coupled with a global program that:

  • uses the most productive land for agriculture
  • preserves forests and ecosystems with high environmental and biodiversity values
  • maintains soil carbon and ecosystems in healthy conditions

The remaining 3% ‘allowance’ refers to abandoned cropland in Europe, North America, and North Asia and some areas of Africa’s savannas and South America’s tropical ecoregion.