Limits...
Global biomass production potentials exceed expected future demand without the need for cropland expansion.

Mauser W, Klepper G, Zabel F, Delzeit R, Hank T, Putzenlechner B, Calzadilla A - Nat Commun (2015)

Bottom Line: Global biomass demand is expected to roughly double between 2005 and 2050.By explicitly considering these two factors we show that, without expansion of cropland, today's global biomass potentials substantially exceed previous estimates and even 2050s' demands.The additional potentials would make cropland expansion redundant.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Geography, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Luisenstr. 37, 80333 Munich, Germany.

ABSTRACT
Global biomass demand is expected to roughly double between 2005 and 2050. Current studies suggest that agricultural intensification through optimally managed crops on today's cropland alone is insufficient to satisfy future demand. In practice though, improving crop growth management through better technology and knowledge almost inevitably goes along with (1) improving farm management with increased cropping intensity and more annual harvests where feasible and (2) an economically more efficient spatial allocation of crops which maximizes farmers' profit. By explicitly considering these two factors we show that, without expansion of cropland, today's global biomass potentials substantially exceed previous estimates and even 2050s' demands. We attribute 39% increase in estimated global production potentials to increasing cropping intensities and 30% to the spatial reallocation of crops to their profit-maximizing locations. The additional potentials would make cropland expansion redundant. Their geographic distribution points at possible hotspots for future intensification.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Global distribution of estimated potential biomass production increase (PBPI) in percentage points (pp).(a) agro-ecological with actual cropping intensities, (b) agro-ecological with potential cropping intensities and (c) agro-economic with potential cropping intensities.
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f3: Global distribution of estimated potential biomass production increase (PBPI) in percentage points (pp).(a) agro-ecological with actual cropping intensities, (b) agro-ecological with potential cropping intensities and (c) agro-economic with potential cropping intensities.

Mentions: Increase in estimated PBPI is region specific. By taking a more regional perspective, we can identify which regions would gain the most from moving towards land-use decisions that raise cropping intensity and/or that consider profit-maximization in the allocation of crops. Fig. 3 shows the global distribution of the simulated PBPIs on today's cropland21. Brown regions indicate small potentials of up to 60 pp, yellow-brown regions moderate potentials of up to 100 pp, green regions large potentials of up to 500 pp and above. Assuming actual cropping intensities (Fig. 3a) PBPI is small in Western Europe (for example, 19 pp in France, 23 pp in Germany and 33 pp in GB), the USA (54 pp) and Japan (8 pp). It is moderate in China (70 pp) and Eastern Europe (86 pp), while it is large in the countries of the former Soviet Union (excluding Russia; 131 pp), Brazil (153 pp), India (255 pp) and Latin America (247 pp). Sub-Saharan Africa (AFR) shows the largest average PBPI of 420 pp. Large additional increases in potentials also show up in the tropical regions of Africa and Latin America when maximizing cropping intensities as shown in Fig. 3b. In contrast a moderate additional increase occurs in India, Argentina and Brazil and almost no changes occur in the extratropical regions of Russia, Europe, North America and Australia, which are climatically restricted to one harvest. Figure 3c shows the additional potential of profit-maximizing reallocation. The largest increase in PBPI in relation to Fig. 3b occurs in parts of AFR, India, China and Latin and South America; again almost no change occurs in Western Europe and North America. As expected, small agro-economic PBPIs coincide with high degrees of commercialization of agriculture and vice versa.


Global biomass production potentials exceed expected future demand without the need for cropland expansion.

Mauser W, Klepper G, Zabel F, Delzeit R, Hank T, Putzenlechner B, Calzadilla A - Nat Commun (2015)

Global distribution of estimated potential biomass production increase (PBPI) in percentage points (pp).(a) agro-ecological with actual cropping intensities, (b) agro-ecological with potential cropping intensities and (c) agro-economic with potential cropping intensities.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4660367&req=5

f3: Global distribution of estimated potential biomass production increase (PBPI) in percentage points (pp).(a) agro-ecological with actual cropping intensities, (b) agro-ecological with potential cropping intensities and (c) agro-economic with potential cropping intensities.
Mentions: Increase in estimated PBPI is region specific. By taking a more regional perspective, we can identify which regions would gain the most from moving towards land-use decisions that raise cropping intensity and/or that consider profit-maximization in the allocation of crops. Fig. 3 shows the global distribution of the simulated PBPIs on today's cropland21. Brown regions indicate small potentials of up to 60 pp, yellow-brown regions moderate potentials of up to 100 pp, green regions large potentials of up to 500 pp and above. Assuming actual cropping intensities (Fig. 3a) PBPI is small in Western Europe (for example, 19 pp in France, 23 pp in Germany and 33 pp in GB), the USA (54 pp) and Japan (8 pp). It is moderate in China (70 pp) and Eastern Europe (86 pp), while it is large in the countries of the former Soviet Union (excluding Russia; 131 pp), Brazil (153 pp), India (255 pp) and Latin America (247 pp). Sub-Saharan Africa (AFR) shows the largest average PBPI of 420 pp. Large additional increases in potentials also show up in the tropical regions of Africa and Latin America when maximizing cropping intensities as shown in Fig. 3b. In contrast a moderate additional increase occurs in India, Argentina and Brazil and almost no changes occur in the extratropical regions of Russia, Europe, North America and Australia, which are climatically restricted to one harvest. Figure 3c shows the additional potential of profit-maximizing reallocation. The largest increase in PBPI in relation to Fig. 3b occurs in parts of AFR, India, China and Latin and South America; again almost no change occurs in Western Europe and North America. As expected, small agro-economic PBPIs coincide with high degrees of commercialization of agriculture and vice versa.

Bottom Line: Global biomass demand is expected to roughly double between 2005 and 2050.By explicitly considering these two factors we show that, without expansion of cropland, today's global biomass potentials substantially exceed previous estimates and even 2050s' demands.The additional potentials would make cropland expansion redundant.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Geography, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Luisenstr. 37, 80333 Munich, Germany.

ABSTRACT
Global biomass demand is expected to roughly double between 2005 and 2050. Current studies suggest that agricultural intensification through optimally managed crops on today's cropland alone is insufficient to satisfy future demand. In practice though, improving crop growth management through better technology and knowledge almost inevitably goes along with (1) improving farm management with increased cropping intensity and more annual harvests where feasible and (2) an economically more efficient spatial allocation of crops which maximizes farmers' profit. By explicitly considering these two factors we show that, without expansion of cropland, today's global biomass potentials substantially exceed previous estimates and even 2050s' demands. We attribute 39% increase in estimated global production potentials to increasing cropping intensities and 30% to the spatial reallocation of crops to their profit-maximizing locations. The additional potentials would make cropland expansion redundant. Their geographic distribution points at possible hotspots for future intensification.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus