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The potential for land sparing to offset greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture

Published on May 1, 2016in Nature Climate Change21.72
· DOI :10.1038/nclimate2910
Anthony Lamb6
Estimated H-index: 6
(University of Cambridge),
Rhys E. Green64
Estimated H-index: 64
(University of Cambridge)
+ 18 AuthorsAndrew Balmford75
Estimated H-index: 75
(University of Cambridge)
Abstract
Greenhouse gas emissions from global agriculture are increasing at around 1% per annum, yet substantial cuts in emissions are needed across all sectors1. The challenge of reducing agricultural emissions is particularly acute, because the reductions achievable by changing farming practices are limited2,3 and are hampered by rapidly rising food demand4,5. Here we assess the technical mitigation potential offered by land sparing—increasing agricultural yields, reducing farmland area and actively restoring natural habitats on the land spared6. Restored habitats can sequester carbon and can offset emissions from agriculture. Using the UK as an example, we estimate net emissions in 2050 under a range of future agricultural scenarios. We find that a land-sparing strategy has the technical potential to achieve significant reductions in net emissions from agriculture and land-use change. Coupling land sparing with demand-side strategies to reduce meat consumption and food waste can further increase the technical mitigation potential—however, economic and implementation considerations might limit the degree to which this technical potential could be realized in practice.
  • References (114)
  • Citations (68)
References114
Newest
#1Anne Marie Thow (USYD: University of Sydney)H-Index: 18
#2Shauna M. Downs (USYD: University of Sydney)H-Index: 14
Last.Stephen Jan (The George Institute for Global Health)H-Index: 42
view all 3 authors...
#1Arun K. Bose (UQAT: Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue)H-Index: 9
#2Mart-Jan Schelhaas (WUR: Wageningen University and Research Centre)H-Index: 32
Last.Frans Bongers (WUR: Wageningen University and Research Centre)H-Index: 51
view all 4 authors...
#1Petr Havlik (ILRI: International Livestock Research Institute)H-Index: 42
#2Hugo Valin (IIASA: International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis)H-Index: 27
Last.An Maria Omer Notenbaert (ILRI: International Livestock Research Institute)H-Index: 17
view all 15 authors...
Cited By68
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#1Danny Taufik (WUR: Wageningen University and Research Centre)H-Index: 2
#2M.C.D. Verain (WUR: Wageningen University and Research Centre)H-Index: 5
Last.Machiel J. Reinders (WUR: Wageningen University and Research Centre)H-Index: 12
view all 4 authors...
#1Stephanie Roe (UVA: University of Virginia)H-Index: 1
#2Charlotte StreckH-Index: 2
Last.Deborah Lawrence (UVA: University of Virginia)H-Index: 33
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#1Lindsay C. Todman (Rothamsted Research)H-Index: 7
#2Kevin Coleman (Rothamsted Research)H-Index: 40
Last.Andrew P. Whitmore (Rothamsted Research)H-Index: 38
view all 8 authors...
#1Robert Beyer (University of Cambridge)H-Index: 3
#2Andrea Manica (University of Cambridge)H-Index: 50
Last.Tim T. Rademacher (Harvard University)H-Index: 5
view all 3 authors...
#1Anthony Lamb (University of Cambridge)H-Index: 6
#2Tom Finch (University of Cambridge)H-Index: 6
Last.Rhys E. Green (University of Cambridge)H-Index: 64
view all 9 authors...
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