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Beneficial land use change : Strategic expansion of new biomass plantations can reduce environmental impacts from EU agriculture

Englund, Oskar LU ; Börjesson, Pål LU ; Berndes, Göran ; Scarlat, Nicolae ; Dallemand, Jean Francois ; Grizzetti, Bruna ; Dimitriou, Ioannis ; Mola-Yudego, Blas and Fahl, Fernando (2020) In Global Environmental Change 60.
Abstract

Society faces the double challenge of increasing biomass production to meet the future demands for food, materials and bioenergy, while addressing negative impacts of current (and future) land use. In the discourse, land use change (LUC) has often been considered as negative, referring to impacts of deforestation and expansion of biomass plantations. However, strategic establishment of suitable perennial production systems in agricultural landscapes can mitigate environmental impacts of current crop production, while providing biomass for the bioeconomy. Here, we explore the potential for such “beneficial LUC” in EU28. First, we map and quantify the degree of accumulated soil organic carbon losses, soil loss by wind and water erosion,... (More)

Society faces the double challenge of increasing biomass production to meet the future demands for food, materials and bioenergy, while addressing negative impacts of current (and future) land use. In the discourse, land use change (LUC) has often been considered as negative, referring to impacts of deforestation and expansion of biomass plantations. However, strategic establishment of suitable perennial production systems in agricultural landscapes can mitigate environmental impacts of current crop production, while providing biomass for the bioeconomy. Here, we explore the potential for such “beneficial LUC” in EU28. First, we map and quantify the degree of accumulated soil organic carbon losses, soil loss by wind and water erosion, nitrogen emissions to water, and recurring floods, in ∼81.000 individual landscapes in EU28. We then estimate the effectiveness in mitigating these impacts through establishment of perennial plants, in each landscape. The results indicate that there is a substantial potential for effective impact mitigation. Depending on criteria selection, 10–46% of the land used for annual crop production in EU28 is located in landscapes that could be considered priority areas for beneficial LUC. These areas are scattered all over Europe, but there are notable “hot-spots” where priority areas are concentrated, e.g., large parts of Denmark, western UK, The Po valley in Italy, and the Danube basin. While some policy developments support beneficial LUC, implementation could benefit from attempts to realize synergies between different Sustainable Development Goals, e.g., “Zero hunger”, “Clean water and sanitation”, “Affordable and Clean Energy”, “Climate Action”, and “Life on Land”.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Biomass, Ecosystem services, Environmental impacts, Land use, LUC, Perennial crops
in
Global Environmental Change
volume
60
article number
101990
publisher
Global Environmental Change, Elsevier
external identifiers
  • scopus:85075711014
ISSN
0959-3780
DOI
10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2019.101990
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
e4a61182-ebca-429f-b778-952be749de41
date added to LUP
2019-12-16 09:30:10
date last changed
2020-05-26 05:37:05
@article{e4a61182-ebca-429f-b778-952be749de41,
  abstract     = {<p>Society faces the double challenge of increasing biomass production to meet the future demands for food, materials and bioenergy, while addressing negative impacts of current (and future) land use. In the discourse, land use change (LUC) has often been considered as negative, referring to impacts of deforestation and expansion of biomass plantations. However, strategic establishment of suitable perennial production systems in agricultural landscapes can mitigate environmental impacts of current crop production, while providing biomass for the bioeconomy. Here, we explore the potential for such “beneficial LUC” in EU28. First, we map and quantify the degree of accumulated soil organic carbon losses, soil loss by wind and water erosion, nitrogen emissions to water, and recurring floods, in ∼81.000 individual landscapes in EU28. We then estimate the effectiveness in mitigating these impacts through establishment of perennial plants, in each landscape. The results indicate that there is a substantial potential for effective impact mitigation. Depending on criteria selection, 10–46% of the land used for annual crop production in EU28 is located in landscapes that could be considered priority areas for beneficial LUC. These areas are scattered all over Europe, but there are notable “hot-spots” where priority areas are concentrated, e.g., large parts of Denmark, western UK, The Po valley in Italy, and the Danube basin. While some policy developments support beneficial LUC, implementation could benefit from attempts to realize synergies between different Sustainable Development Goals, e.g., “Zero hunger”, “Clean water and sanitation”, “Affordable and Clean Energy”, “Climate Action”, and “Life on Land”.</p>},
  author       = {Englund, Oskar and Börjesson, Pål and Berndes, Göran and Scarlat, Nicolae and Dallemand, Jean Francois and Grizzetti, Bruna and Dimitriou, Ioannis and Mola-Yudego, Blas and Fahl, Fernando},
  issn         = {0959-3780},
  language     = {eng},
  publisher    = {Global Environmental Change, Elsevier},
  series       = {Global Environmental Change},
  title        = {Beneficial land use change : Strategic expansion of new biomass plantations can reduce environmental impacts from EU agriculture},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2019.101990},
  doi          = {10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2019.101990},
  volume       = {60},
  year         = {2020},
}