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Long-term impact of rainfed agricultural land abandonment on soil erosion in the Western Mediterranean basin
Cerdà, Artemi ; Rodrigo-Comino, Jesús ; Novara, Agata ; Brevik, Eric Charles ; Vaezi, Ali Reza ; Pulido, Manuel ; Giménez-Morera, Antonio ; Keesstra, Saskia Deborah - \ 2018
Progress in Physical Geography 42 (2018)2. - ISSN 0309-1333 - p. 202 - 219.
Land use change - plots - rainfall - runoff - scale - sediment - Spain
Land abandonment is widespread in the Mediterranean mountains. The impact of agricultural abandonment results in a shift in ecosystem evolution due to changes in soil erosion, but little is known about long-term soil and water losses. This paper uses 11 years of measurements in two paired plots (abandoned vs control) with four subplots to determine how soil and water losses evolved after abandonment within an agricultural parcel. For two years (2004–2005) both plots were under tillage, and after 2006 one plot was abandoned. The monitored plots measured runoff and sediment concentration after each rainfall event. The results show that during the two years after abandonment there was an increase in sediment yield followed by a decrease. Once the field was abandoned, a sudden increase in runoff (× 2.1 times) and sediment concentration (× 1.2 times) was found due to the lack of vegetation and tillage. After one year, the sediment concentration and, after two years, the runoff rates were lower in the abandoned than in the tilled plots. This short transition period ended in contrasting responses between the control and abandoned plot as the impact of abandonment resulted in 21 times less sediment yield after nine years of abandonment. This occurred despite the fact that the year after the abandonment the abandoned plot had 2.9 times more erosion due to low vegetation recovery and the development of a soil crust. Agriculture land abandonment resulted in lower erosion rates over the long term, but showed an increase in soil and water losses over the short term (two years). Therefore, in the first two years after abandonment there is a particular need to apply nature-based soil and water conservation strategies to prevent soil erosion.
Pastoralists in a changing environment : The competition for grazing land in and around the W Biosphere Reserve, Benin Republic
Tamou, Charles ; Ripoll-Bosch, Raimon ; Boer, Imke J.M. de; Oosting, Simon J. - \ 2018
Ambio 47 (2018)3. - ISSN 0044-7447 - p. 340 - 354.
Competing claims - Crop production - Drivers - Land use change - Nature conservation - Pastoralism
Pastoralists face increasing competition for land with crop farmers and nature in and around the W Biosphere Reserve (WBR) in Benin. Our aim was to describe and analyse land use changes in order to understand their drivers, and to describe and analyse the viewpoints of relevant stakeholders in order to understand the competition for land. To this end, remote sensing data, regional statistics, and survey data were collected. We found that crop land expansion around the WBR was the direct driver of decrease of the grazing land area. Population growth and rising demand for food crops, and government support to the cotton sector were indirect drivers of grazing land reduction. Furthermore, competing claims on land among users arose from the complex interaction of crop expansion, presence of WBR and the way it is governed, the lack of support to pastoralists, and the increasing shift of pastoralists’ lifestyle into one of settled crop farmers. Pastoralism is under threat and its survival depends on the successful implementation of policies to support pastoralists and protect grazing lands.
A cross-scale impact assessment of European nature protection policies under contrasting future socio-economic pathways
Lotze-Campen, Hermann ; Verburg, Peter H. ; Popp, Alexander ; Lindner, Marcus ; Verkerk, Pieter J. ; Moiseyev, Alexander ; Schrammeijer, Elizabeth ; Helming, John ; Tabeau, Andrzej ; Schulp, Catharina J.E. ; Zanden, Emma H. van der; Lavalle, Carlo ; E Silva, Filipe Batista ; Walz, Ariane ; Bodirsky, Benjamin - \ 2018
Regional Environmental Change 18 (2018)3. - ISSN 1436-3798 - p. 751 - 762.
Cross-scale interaction - Impact assessment - Integrated modelling - Land use change - Nature protection
Protection of natural or semi-natural ecosystems is an important part of societal strategies for maintaining biodiversity, ecosystem services, and achieving overall sustainable development. The assessment of multiple emerging land use trade-offs is complicated by the fact that land use changes occur and have consequences at local, regional, and even global scale. Outcomes also depend on the underlying socio-economic trends. We apply a coupled, multi-scale modelling system to assess an increase in nature protection areas as a key policy option in the European Union (EU). The main goal of the analysis is to understand the interactions between policy-induced land use changes across different scales and sectors under two contrasting future socio-economic pathways. We demonstrate how complementary insights into land system change can be gained by coupling land use models for agriculture, forestry, and urban areas for Europe, in connection with other world regions. The simulated policy case of nature protection shows how the allocation of a certain share of total available land to newly protected areas, with specific management restrictions imposed, may have a range of impacts on different land-based sectors until the year 2040. Agricultural land in Europe is slightly reduced, which is partly compensated for by higher management intensity. As a consequence of higher costs, total calorie supply per capita is reduced within the EU. While wood harvest is projected to decrease, carbon sequestration rates increase in European forests. At the same time, imports of industrial roundwood from other world regions are expected to increase. Some of the aggregate effects of nature protection have very different implications at the local to regional scale in different parts of Europe. Due to nature protection measures, agricultural production is shifted from more productive land in Europe to on average less productive land in other parts of the world. This increases, at the global level, the allocation of land resources for agriculture, leading to a decrease in tropical forest areas, reduced carbon stocks, and higher greenhouse gas emissions outside of Europe. The integrated modelling framework provides a method to assess the land use effects of a single policy option while accounting for the trade-offs between locations, and between regional, European, and global scales.
Simulating and delineating future land change trajectories across Europe
Stürck, Julia ; Levers, Christian ; Zanden, Emma Henriëtta van der; Schulp, Catharina Johanna Elizabeth ; Verkerk, Pieter Johannes ; Kuemmerle, Tobias ; Helming, John ; Lotze-Campen, Hermann ; Tabeau, Andrzej ; Popp, Alexander ; Schrammeijer, Elizabeth ; Verburg, Peter - \ 2018
Regional Environmental Change 18 (2018)3. - ISSN 1436-3798 - p. 733 - 749.
Ecosystem service - Europe - Land system - Land use change - Modeling - Scenario
Explorations of future land use change are important to understand potential conflicts between competing land uses, trade-offs associated with particular land change trajectories, and the effectiveness of policies to steer land systems into desirable states. Most model-based explorations and scenario studies focused on conversions in broad land use classes, but disregarded changes in land management or focused on individual sectors only. Using the European Union (EU) as a case study, we developed an approach to identifying typical combinations of land cover and management changes by combining the results of multimodel simulations in the agriculture and forest sectors for four scenarios from 2000 to 2040. We visualized land change trajectories by mapping regional hotspots of change. Land change trajectories differed in extent and spatial pattern across the EU and among scenarios, indicating trajectory-specific option spaces for alternative land system outcomes. In spite of the large variation in the area of change, similar hotspots of land change were observed among the scenarios. All scenarios indicate a stronger polarization of land use in Europe, with a loss of multifunctional landscapes. We analyzed locations subject to change by comparing location characteristics associated with certain land change trajectories. Results indicate differences in the location conditions of different land change trajectories, with diverging impacts on ecosystem service provisioning. Policy and planning for future land use needs to account for the spatial variation of land change trajectories to achieve both overarching and location-specific targets.
Land use change impacts on floods at the catchment scale : Challenges and opportunities for future research
Rogger, M. ; Agnoletti, M. ; Alaoui, A. ; Bathurst, J.C. ; Bodner, G. ; Borga, M. ; Chaplot, Vincent ; Gallart, F. ; Glatzel, G. ; Hall, J. ; Holden, J. ; Holko, L. ; Horn, R. ; Kiss, A. ; Kohnová, S. ; Leitinger, G. ; Lennartz, B. ; Parajka, J. ; Perdigão, R. ; Peth, S. ; Plavcová, L. ; Quinton, John N. ; Robinson, Matthew R. ; Salinas, J.L. ; Santoro, A. ; Szolgay, J. ; Tron, S. ; Akker, J.J.H. van den; Viglione, A. ; Blöschl, G. - \ 2017
Water Resources Research 53 (2017)7. - ISSN 0043-1397 - p. 5209 - 5219.
Catchment scale - Floods - Land use change
Research gaps in understanding flood changes at the catchment scale caused by changes in forest management, agricultural practices, artificial drainage, and terracing are identified. Potential strategies in addressing these gaps are proposed, such as complex systems approaches to link processes across time scales, long-term experiments on physical-chemical-biological process interactions, and a focus on connectivity and patterns across spatial scales. It is suggested that these strategies will stimulate new research that coherently addresses the issues across hydrology, soil and agricultural sciences, forest engineering, forest ecology, and geomorphology.
Differentiating the effects of climate and land use change on European biodiversity : A scenario analysis
Vermaat, Jan E. ; Hellmann, Fritz A. ; Teeffelen, Astrid J.A. van; Wallis de Vries, Michiel - \ 2017
Ambio 46 (2017)3. - ISSN 0044-7447 - p. 277 - 290.
Climate envelope modelling - Dry grasslands - Habitat connectivity - Land use change - Species sensitivity database - SRES scenario articulation - Wetlands - 016-3982 - 017-3997
Current observed as well as projected changes in biodiversity are the result of multiple interacting factors, with land use and climate change often marked as most important drivers. We aimed to disentangle the separate impacts of these two for sets of vascular plant, bird, butterfly and dragonfly species listed as characteristic for European dry grasslands and wetlands, two habitats of high and threatened biodiversity. We combined articulations of the four frequently used SRES climate scenarios and associated land use change projections for 2030, and assessed their impact on population trends in species (i.e. whether they would probably be declining, stable or increasing). We used the BIOSCORE database tool, which allows assessment of the effects of a range of environmental pressures including climate change as well as land use change. We updated the species lists included in this tool for our two habitat types. We projected species change for two spatial scales: the EU27 covering most of Europe, and the more restricted biogeographic region of ‘Continental Europe’. Other environmental pressures modelled for the four scenarios than land use and climate change generally did not explain a significant part of the variance in species richness change. Changes in characteristic bird and dragonfly species were least pronounced. Land use change was the most important driver for vascular plants in both habitats and spatial scales, leading to a decline in 50–100% of the species included, whereas climate change was more important for wetland dragonflies and birds (40–50 %). Patterns of species decline were similar in continental Europe and the EU27 for wetlands but differed for dry grasslands, where a substantially lower proportion of butterflies and birds declined in continental Europe, and 50 % of bird species increased, probably linked to a projected increase in semi-natural vegetation. In line with the literature using climate envelope models, we found little divergence among the four scenarios. Our findings suggest targeted policies depending on habitat and species group. These are, for dry grasslands, to reduce land use change or its effects and to enhance connectivity, and for wetlands to mitigate climate change effects.
Impact of agricultural expansion on water footprint in the Amazon under climate change scenarios
Miguel Ayala, Laura ; Eupen, Michiel van; Zhang, Guoping ; Pérez-Soba, Marta ; Martorano, Lucieta G. ; Lisboa, Leila S. ; Beltrao, Norma E. - \ 2016
Science of the Total Environment 569-570 (2016). - ISSN 0048-9697 - p. 1159 - 1173.
Deforestation - Land use change - Soybean production - Sustainability - Water use
Agricultural expansion and intensification are main drivers of land-use change in Brazil. Soybean is the major crop under expansion in the area. Soybean production involves large amounts of water and fertiliser that act as sources of contamination with potentially negative impacts on adjacent water bodies. These impacts might be intensified by projected climate change in tropical areas. A Water Footprint Assessment (WFA) serves as a tool to assess environmental impacts of water and fertiliser use. The aim of this study was to understand potential impacts on environmental sustainability of agricultural intensification close to a protected forest area of the Amazon under climate change. We carried out a WFA to calculate the water footprint (WF) related to soybean production, Glycine max, to understand the sustainability of the WF in the Tapajós river basin, a region in the Brazilian Amazon with large expansion and intensification of soybean. Based on global datasets, environmental hotspots — potentially unsustainable WF areas — were identified and spatially plotted in both baseline scenario (2010) and projection into 2050 through the use of a land-use change scenario that includes climate change effects. Results show green and grey WF values in 2050 increased by 304% and 268%, respectively. More than one-third of the watersheds doubled their grey WF in 2050. Soybean production in 2010 lies within sustainability limits. However, current soybean expansion and intensification trends lead to large impacts in relation to water pollution and water use, affecting protected areas. Areas not impacted in terms of water pollution dropped by 20.6% in 2050 for the whole catchment, while unsustainability increased 8.1%. Management practices such as water consumption regulations to stimulate efficient water use, reduction of crop water use and evapotranspiration, and optimal fertiliser application control could be key factors in achieving sustainability within a river basin.
Waking the Sleeping Giant : Agricultural intensification, extensification or stagnation in Mali's Guinea Savannah
Ollenburger, Mary H. ; Descheemaeker, Katrien ; Crane, Todd A. ; Sanogo, Ousmane M. ; Giller, Ken E. - \ 2016
Agricultural Systems 148 (2016). - ISSN 0308-521X - p. 58 - 70.
Land use change - Livelihood systems - Mechanization - Off-farm income - Scenario analysis - Smallholder
The World Bank argued that West Africa's Guinea Savannah zone forms part of “Africa's Sleeping Giant,” where increases in agricultural production could be an engine of economic growth, through expansion of cultivated land in sparsely populated areas. The district of Bougouni, in southern Mali, falls within this zone. We used multiple data sources including a panel survey, remote sensing-based land cover classification, population data, and farmer focus group discussions, to investigate whether the area is following a commonly-described pathway of agricultural intensification due to increasing land scarcity. We then used our understanding of historical change to explore plausible future pathways. Bougouni forms part of the expansion zone of the CMDT, which since the mid-1980s has provided support for intensive agricultural systems of cotton-maize rotations with animal traction and use of mineral fertilizer. In the period of the panel survey (1994–2012), cropped land at household level was correlated with household size: households with less than one full team of draft oxen cultivated 0.50 ha/family member, while households with two or more teams cultivated 0.82 ha/family member (R2 > 0.8). At the village level, cropped land increases varied with the amount of remaining available land and the importance of off-farm income. We see some intensification in maize and cotton, and corresponding improvements in food self-sufficiency. However, despite increasing fertilizer use, average maize and cotton yields remain around 1600 and 900 kg/ha respectively, well below national averages. Other crops are still grown in outfields relying on long fallows with limited nutrient inputs. Thus rather than either intensification or extensification the agricultural situation may be best described as stagnation. This may be due to limited incentives to invest in agriculture when compared to opportunities such as gold mining or small businesses, which (in 2012) contribute at least 25% of household income to ten out of 29 households. In future, cropland expansion will likely continue, which could lead to increased conflict between farmers and transhumant herders, and could lead to increased inequality at village level. Factors mitigating the tendency to land expansion include opportunities for off-farm income and migration, or market opportunities and capacity to produce high-value crops such as mango, cashew, or vegetables. This could preserve some remaining savannah area for grazing use and conservation purposes. Understanding household livelihood systems as part of a network of complex social and ecological factors allows the identification and exploration of multiple viable pathways towards desirable futures.
Effects of oil palm expansion through direct and indirect land use change in Tapi river basin, Thailand
Saswattecha, Kanokwan ; Hein, Lars ; Kroeze, Carolien ; Jawjit, Warit - \ 2016
International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 12 (2016)4. - ISSN 2151-3732 - p. 291 - 313.
biodiversity - carbon storage - ecosystem service - Land use change - oil palm expansion - Thailand
The Thai government has ambitious plan to further promote the use of biodiesel. However, there has been insufficient consideration on the environmental effects of oil palm expansion in Thailand. This paper focuses on the effects of oil palm expansion on land use. We analysed the direct land use change (dLUC) and indirect land use change (iLUC) caused by the oil palm expansion and its effects on ecosystem services supply. Our analysis shows that between 2000 and 2009 dLUC related to oil palm expansion was more prevalent than iLUC. dLUC involved new oil palm plantations replacing cropland rather than natural ecosystems. Rubber was most frequently replaced by oil palm but there was also conversion of natural ecosystems. Later, between 2009 and 2012, iLUC strongly increased. Forests were cleared for rubber production as an indirect effect of oil palm expansion. We also quantified the effects of land use change on selected ecosystem services. Oil palm expansion led to increased production of fresh fruit bunches; however, it reduced other crop production such as latex, rice and fruits. Biodiversity conservation was also negatively affected. Carbon storage was positively affected by conversion of unused land, rice and orchard area by oil palm, but negatively affected by the conversion of forests.
Grain legume decline and potential recovery in European agriculture : a review
Zander, Peter ; Amjath-Babu, T.S. ; Preissel, Sara ; Reckling, Moritz ; Bues, Andrea ; Schläfke, Nicole ; Kuhlman, Tom ; Bachinger, Johann ; Uthes, Sandra ; Stoddard, Fred ; Murphy-Bokern, Donal ; Watson, Christine - \ 2016
Agronomy for Sustainable Development 36 (2016)2. - ISSN 1774-0746 - 20 p.
Diversification - Economic pressures - Land use change - Protein crops - Specialization - Sustainable land use
Sustainable development of agriculture is at the core of agricultural policy debates in Europe. There is a consensus that diversification of cropping would support sustainable development. However, a reduction in legume cultivation has been observed in the EU during the last decades. This decline has induced, in turn, a deficit of proteins and a reduction of ecosystem services provided by legumes. Therefore, we analysed the mechanisms that shape agricultural systems to identify leverage points for reviving European legume production. Specifically, we reviewed the factors that affect the market and non-market value of legumes and the relevant agricultural policies. We characterized the decline in legume cropping as an outcome of the dominance of economic forces that favour specialization of production systems over diversification. We found that the value of market outputs of legumes per unit area is relatively low and volatile, with a 25–78 % variation in pea gross margins, which reduces market competitiveness. We observed that the value of system-internal outputs of legumes such as the nitrogen fixed, of 130 to 153 kg N ha−1; crop protection services that reduce agrochemical costs, by 20–25 % in cereals; and yield enhancements of subsequent crops, of 0.2 to 1.6 t ha−1 in cereals, are often underestimated. In addition, markets fail to translate external effects of legumes such as biodiversity enhancement, reduction in emissions, of up to 50 % in N2O, and soil improvements into economic benefits. Current policies support legumes through selected mechanisms such as ecological focus areas, agri-environmental programmes and sparse coupled support measures. Domestic cultivation of legumes could be supported through trade policies such as import restrictions on genetically modified soybean or new mechanisms to appreciate non-market outputs including payments for ecosystem services and carbon markets. In addition, development of new value chains, niche markets, scaling-up of plant breeding efforts and dissemination of information is required.
GLOBIO-Aquatic, a global model of human impact on the biodiversity of inland aquatic ecosystems
Janse, J.H. ; Kuiper, J.J. ; Weijters, M.J. ; Westerbeek, E.P. ; Jeuken, M.H.J.L. ; Bakkenes, M. ; Alkemade, R. ; Mooij, W.M. ; Verhoeven, J.T.A. - \ 2015
Environmental Science & Policy 48 (2015). - ISSN 1462-9011 - p. 99 - 114.
Catchment - Cyanobacteria - Eutrophication - Hydrological disturbance - Lakes - Land use change - Rivers - Scenario analysis - Wetlands
Biodiversity in freshwater ecosystems - rivers, lakes and wetlands - is undergoing rapid global decline. Major drivers are land use change, eutrophication, hydrological disturbance, climate change, overexploitation and invasive species. We developed a global model for assessing the dominant human impacts on inland aquatic biodiversity. The system consists of a biodiversity model, named GLOBIO-Aquatic, that is embedded in the IMAGE model framework, i.e. linked to models for demography, economy, land use changes, climate change, nutrient emissions, a global hydrological model and a global map of water bodies. The biodiversity model is based on a recompilation of existing data, thereby scaling-up from local/regional case-studies to global trends. We compared species composition in impacted lakes, rivers and wetlands to that in comparable undisturbed systems. We focussed on broad categories of human-induced pressures that are relevant at the global scale. The drivers currently included are catchment land use changes and nutrient loading affecting water quality, and hydrological disturbance and climate change affecting water quantity. The resulting relative mean abundance of original species is used as indicator for biodiversity intactness. For lakes, we used dominance of harmful algal blooms as an additional indicator. The results show that there is a significant negative relation between biodiversity intactness and these stressors in all types of freshwater ecosystems. In heavily used catchments, standing water bodies would lose about 80% of their biodiversity intactness and running waters about 70%, while severe hydrological disturbance would result in losses of about 80% in running waters and more than 50% in floodplain wetlands. As an illustration, an analysis using the OECD 'baseline scenario' shows a considerable decline of the biodiversity intactness in still existing water bodies in 2000, especially in temperate and subtropical regions, and a further decline especially in tropical regions in 2050. Historical loss of wetland areas is not yet included in these results. The model may inform policy makers at the global level in what regions aquatic biodiversity will be affected most and by what causes, and allows for scenario analysis to evaluate policy options.
Global impacts of surface ozone changes on crop yields and land use
Chuwah, C.D. ; Noije, Twan van; Vuuren, Detlef P. van; Stehfest, Elke ; Hazeleger, Wilco - \ 2015
Atmospheric Environment 106 (2015). - ISSN 1352-2310 - p. 11 - 23.
Air pollution control - Climate change mitigation - Emission scenarios - Land use change - Ozone crop damage
Exposure to surface ozone has detrimental impacts on vegetation and crop yields. In this study, we estimate ozone impacts on crop production and subsequent impacts on land use in the 2005-2050 period using results of the TM5 atmospheric chemistry and IMAGE integrated assessment model. For the crops represented in IMAGE, we compute relative yield losses based on published exposure-response functions. We examine scenarios with either constant or declining emission factors in a weak climate policy future (radiative forcing target of 6.0W/m2 at the end of the century), as well as co-benefits of stringent climate policy (targeted at 2.6W/m2). Without a large decrease in air pollutant emissions, higher ozone concentrations could lead to an increase in crop damage of up to 20% locally in 2050 compared to the situation in which the changes in ozone are not accounted for. This may lead to a 2.5% global increase in crop area, and a regional increase of 8.9% in Asia. Implementation of air pollution policies could limit crop yield losses due to ozone to maximally 10% in 2050 in the most affected regions. Similar effects can be obtained as a result of co-benefits from climate policy (reducing ozone precursor emissions). We also evaluated the impact of the corresponding land-use changes on the carbon cycle. Under the worst-case scenario analysed in this study, future ozone increases are estimated to increase the cumulative net CO2 emissions between 2005 and 2050 by about 3.7PgC, which corresponds to about 10% of baseline land use emissions over the same period.