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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

Comparison of estimated potential biomass production increase (PBPI) in percent points (pp) by optimizing cropping intensities and a profit-maximizing spatial allocation of major crops on current cropland in four regions.(a) Agro-ecological PBPI with potential cropping intensity versus actual cropping intensity, (b) agro-economic PBPI with profit-maximizing reallocation versus with current allocation of crops, (c) option a and b combined (both axes logarithmic scale, FSU=Former Soviet Union excluding Russia, AFR=Sub-Saharan Africa, BRA=Brazil).
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f4: Comparison of estimated potential biomass production increase (PBPI) in percent points (pp) by optimizing cropping intensities and a profit-maximizing spatial allocation of major crops on current cropland in four regions.(a) Agro-ecological PBPI with potential cropping intensity versus actual cropping intensity, (b) agro-economic PBPI with profit-maximizing reallocation versus with current allocation of crops, (c) option a and b combined (both axes logarithmic scale, FSU=Former Soviet Union excluding Russia, AFR=Sub-Saharan Africa, BRA=Brazil).

Mentions: Increases in estimated PBPI are also crop specific. The three graphs in Fig. 4 compare regionally aggregated PBPIs for four important crops in four regions. The graph (a) uses agro-ecological PBPI and compare potential cropping intensities with actual cropping intensities; (b) compares agro-economic with agro-ecologic PBPI (both with potential cropping intensities) and (c) shows the combined effect of factors (a) and (b) with agro-ecological PBPI with actual cropping intensities. Results for wheat, maize, rice and soy were chosen because they constitute the economically most important crops. The USA, the countries of the former Soviet Union (without Russia), AFR and Brazil were selected to cover regional agricultural production systems that differ in commercialization, use of farming technologies, and environmental conditions. Points above the identity line represent increased PBPI through (a) more harvests per year, (b) the profit-maximizing reallocation of crops and (c) a combination of both. Points close to an absolute PBPI value of zero represent constellations in which the actual biomass production is already approaching potential biomass production.


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)

Comparison of estimated potential biomass production increase (PBPI) in percent points (pp) by optimizing cropping intensities and a profit-maximizing spatial allocation of major crops on current cropland in four regions.(a) Agro-ecological PBPI with potential cropping intensity versus actual cropping intensity, (b) agro-economic PBPI with profit-maximizing reallocation versus with current allocation of crops, (c) option a and b combined (both axes logarithmic scale, FSU=Former Soviet Union excluding Russia, AFR=Sub-Saharan Africa, BRA=Brazil).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

f4: Comparison of estimated potential biomass production increase (PBPI) in percent points (pp) by optimizing cropping intensities and a profit-maximizing spatial allocation of major crops on current cropland in four regions.(a) Agro-ecological PBPI with potential cropping intensity versus actual cropping intensity, (b) agro-economic PBPI with profit-maximizing reallocation versus with current allocation of crops, (c) option a and b combined (both axes logarithmic scale, FSU=Former Soviet Union excluding Russia, AFR=Sub-Saharan Africa, BRA=Brazil).
Mentions: Increases in estimated PBPI are also crop specific. The three graphs in Fig. 4 compare regionally aggregated PBPIs for four important crops in four regions. The graph (a) uses agro-ecological PBPI and compare potential cropping intensities with actual cropping intensities; (b) compares agro-economic with agro-ecologic PBPI (both with potential cropping intensities) and (c) shows the combined effect of factors (a) and (b) with agro-ecological PBPI with actual cropping intensities. Results for wheat, maize, rice and soy were chosen because they constitute the economically most important crops. The USA, the countries of the former Soviet Union (without Russia), AFR and Brazil were selected to cover regional agricultural production systems that differ in commercialization, use of farming technologies, and environmental conditions. Points above the identity line represent increased PBPI through (a) more harvests per year, (b) the profit-maximizing reallocation of crops and (c) a combination of both. Points close to an absolute PBPI value of zero represent constellations in which the actual biomass production is already approaching potential biomass production.

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