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Population, agricultural productivity, land protection and diet important for a sustainable future

Posted by: Jeda Palmer

May 16, 2019

In a study recently published in Nature Communications, CSIRO contributed to an international effort with multiple other research organisations to identify key determinants of global land-use projections.

Projections of land-use play an important role in exploring future developments and policy options for sustainable development, climate change, biodiversity, and food security.

The researchers used a new sensitivity approach to conclude that among the many land-use change drivers, our future land footprint depends largely on population growth, agricultural efficiency, land-use regulation and consumption changes.

The study also identified the key determinants and their relative importance to achieve a sustainable land-use future, and what needs to be avoided in order to avoid situations where land expansion would put primary forests and other natural ecosystems at risk.

The study also illustrates how the combination of land-use regulation, agricultural efficiency and dietary changes can help limit human pressure on land while safeguarding food security.

Stehfest et al. (2019) Key determinants of global land-use futures. Nature Communications 10(2166), 1–10.