Finite land resources and competition

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Helmut Haberl, Cheikh Mbow, Xiangzheng Deng, Elena G Irwin, Suzi Kerr, Tobias Kuemmerle, Ole Mertz, Patrick Meyfroidt, B. L. Turner II

Rising demand for land-based products (food, feed, fi ber, and bioenergy) as well as conservation of forests and carbon sinks create increasing competition for land. Landuse competition has many drivers, takes different forms, and can have many significant implications for ecosystems as well as societal well-being. This chapter discusses several emerging issues, including the effect of increased demand for nonprovisioning ecosystem services ( biodiversity conservation and carbon sequestration), urbanization, bioenergy, and teleconnections. Three major types of land-use competition are discerned: production versus production (e.g., food vs. fuel), production versus conservation (e.g., food production vs. conservation), and built-up environment versus production or conservation (e.g., food vs. urban). Sustainability impacts that result from land-use competition are analyzed and found to differ strongly between the different
types of land-use competition. They are associated with important trade-offs and
high uncertainty. Institutional aspects related to land-use competition are discussed using a conceptual model that distinguishes types of institutions (government, private, community) as well as their functions (objectives, distribution/ equity, effectiveness/efficiency). Analysis of long-term trajectories suggests that land-use competition is likely to intensify in the medium- to long-term future, mainly in the face of expected scarcities in resource supply (e.g., in terms of limited resources such as fossil fuels), mitigation and adaptation policies related to climate change, as well as climate change impacts and demographic pressures. The chapter concludes with a discussion of major
research gaps, and it outlines priority research topics, including the improved analysis of interdependencies of land and energy systems, “ land architecture” (i.e., the significance of spatial confi gurations), and multiscale models to assess local-global connections and impacts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRethinking Global Land Use in an Urban Era
EditorsKaren S Seto, Anette Reenberg
Place of PublicationCambridge, MA
PublisherMIT Press
Publication date2014
Pages35-69
Chapter4
ISBN (Print)9780262026901
Publication statusPublished - 2014
SeriesStrungmann Forum reports
Volume14

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