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The land footprint of the EU bioeconomy : monitoring tools, gaps and needs

  • The bioeconomy is gaining growing attention as a perceived win-win strategy for environment and economy in the EU. However, the EU already has a disproportionately high global cropland footprint compared to the world average, and uses more cropland than domestically available to supply its demand for agricultural products. There is a risk that uncontrolled growth of the bioeconomy will increase land use pressures abroad. For that reason, a monitoring system is needed to account for the global land use of European consumption. The aim of this paper is to take a closer look at the tools needed to monitor global cropland footprints, as well as the targets needed to benchmark development. This paper reviews recent developments in land footprintThe bioeconomy is gaining growing attention as a perceived win-win strategy for environment and economy in the EU. However, the EU already has a disproportionately high global cropland footprint compared to the world average, and uses more cropland than domestically available to supply its demand for agricultural products. There is a risk that uncontrolled growth of the bioeconomy will increase land use pressures abroad. For that reason, a monitoring system is needed to account for the global land use of European consumption. The aim of this paper is to take a closer look at the tools needed to monitor global cropland footprints, as well as the targets needed to benchmark development. This paper reviews recent developments in land footprint accounting approaches and applies the method of global land use accounting to calculate the global cropland footprint of the EU-27 for the years between 2000 and 2011. It finds a slight decrease in per capita cropland footprints over the past decade (of around 1% annually, reaching 0.29 ha/cap in 2011) and advocates promoting a further decrease in per capita cropland requirements (of around 2% annually) to reach global land use targets for keeping consumption within the safe operating space of planetary boundaries by 2030. It argues that strategic land reduction targets may still go hand in hand with the growth of a smart, innovative and sustainable bioeconomy by reinforcing the need for policies that support greater efficiency across the life-cycle and reduce wasteful and excessive consumption practices. Recommendations for further improving land footprint accounting are given.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Document Type:Peer-Reviewed Article
Author:Meghan O'Brien, Helmut Schütz, Stefan Bringezu
URN (citable link):https://nbn-resolving.org/urn:nbn:de:bsz:wup4-opus-58822
Year of Publication:2015
Language:English
Source Title (English):Land use policy
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2015.04.012
Volume:47
First Page:235
Last Page:246
Release Date:2015/05/22
Dewey Decimal Classification:600 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften
OpenAIRE:OpenAIRE
Licence:License LogoIn Copyright - Urheberrechtlich geschützt