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Beyond biofuels : assessing global land use for domestic consumption of biomass ; a conceptual and empirical contribution to sustainable management of global resources

  • Consumption of natural resources should not exceed sustainable levels. The increasing use of biofuels and to some extent biomaterials, on top of rising food and feed demands, is causing countries to use a growing amount of global land, which may lead to land use conflicts and the expansion of cropland and intensive cultivation at the expense of natural ecosystems. Selective product certification cannot control the land use change triggered by growing overall biomass consumption. We propose a comprehensive approach to account for the global land use of countries for their domestic consumption, and assess this level with regard to globally acceptable levels of resource use, based on the concept of safe operating space. It is shown that theConsumption of natural resources should not exceed sustainable levels. The increasing use of biofuels and to some extent biomaterials, on top of rising food and feed demands, is causing countries to use a growing amount of global land, which may lead to land use conflicts and the expansion of cropland and intensive cultivation at the expense of natural ecosystems. Selective product certification cannot control the land use change triggered by growing overall biomass consumption. We propose a comprehensive approach to account for the global land use of countries for their domestic consumption, and assess this level with regard to globally acceptable levels of resource use, based on the concept of safe operating space. It is shown that the European Union currently uses one-third more cropland than globally available on a per capita basis and that with constant consumption levels it would exceed its fair share of acceptable resource use in 2030. As the use of global forests to meet renewable energy targets is becoming a concern, an approach to account for sustainable levels of timber flows is also proposed, based on the use of net annual increment, exemplified with preliminary data for Switzerland. Altogether, our approach would integrate the concept of sustainable consumption into national resource management plans; offering a conceptual basis and concrete reference values for informed policy making and urging countries to monitor and adjust their levels of resource consumption in a comprehensive way, respectful of the limits of sustainable supply.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Document Type:Peer-Reviewed Article
Author:Stefan Bringezu, Meghan O'Brien, Helmut Schütz
URN (citable link):https://nbn-resolving.org/urn:nbn:de:bsz:wup4-opus-38789
Year of Publication:2012
Language:English
Source Title (English):Land use policy
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2011.06.010
Volume:29
Issue:1
First Page:224
Last Page:232
Dewey Decimal Classification:600 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften
Licence:License LogoIn Copyright - Urheberrechtlich geschützt