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Assessing Global Land Use: Balancing consumption with sustainable supply

Assessing Global Land Use: Balancing consumption with sustainable supply

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Published by: United Nations Environment Programme on Jun 03, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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International Resource PanelWorking Group on Land and Soils
Lead Authors
Stefan Bringezu (lead coordinating author), Helmut Schütz, Walter Pengue, Meghan O´Brien, Fernando Garcia, Ralph Sims, Robert W. Howarth, Lea Kauppi, Mark Swilling, and Jeffrey Herrick.Contributions also to interim versions were gratefully received from Prem Bindraban, Christine Costello, Maria Amélia Enríquez, John Gowdy, Ana Carolina Herrero, Tomás Enrique Leon Sicard, Eric Lambin, Patrick Lavelle, Jorge Morello, Chinedum Nwajiuba, Oliver Stengel, Ernesto Viglizzo, and Suhas Wani. The preparation of the draft was also supported by helpful inputs of Jelle Bruinsma, Anna Creed, and Parviz Koohafkan. Helpful comments came from Maarten Hajer and his team at The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, PBL, Henk Westhoek, Maurits Van den Berg, Elke Stehfest, Jan Bakkes, Lex Bouwman, Tom Kram, Stefan Van der Esch, Ben ten Brink; as well as from Eric Eboh, Yvan Hardy and Joseph Weiss. We are grateful to James A. Colwill for providing unpublished data referring to Colwill et al. (2011) which enabled us to perform own calculations of future cropland requirements. The report went through a peer-review process coordinated by Jeffrey McNeely, together with the International Resource Panel Secretariat. The authors thank the anonymous peer reviewers for their constructive comments.Special thanks go to Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker and Ashok Khosla as Co-Chairs of the International Resource Panel for their dedication and commitment, as well as to the members of the International Resource Panel and its Steering Committee for their constructive comments.The Secretariat of the International Resource Panel coordinated the preparation of this report with the support of Shaoyi Li, Janet Salem, and María José Baptista. Jaap van Woerden of UNEP/DEWA provided scientific data support in developing the figures.The authors would also like to thank Janina Ubachs, Wuppertal Institute, for her technical support in the preparation of this report.The main responsibility for errors remains with the authors.Copyright © United Nations Environment Programme, 2014This publication may be reproduced in whole or in part and in any form for educational or nonprofit purposes without special permission from the copyright holder, provided acknowledgement of the source is made. UNEP would appreciate receiving a copy of any publication that uses this publication as a source. No use of this publication may be made for resale or for any other commercial purpose whatsoever without prior permission in writing from the United Nations Environment Programme.
Virginia Njoroge
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The designations employed and the presentation of the material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the United Nations Environment Programme concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. Moreover, the views expressed do not necessarily represent the decision or the stated policy of the United Nations Environment Programme, nor does citing of trade names or commercial processes constitute endorsement.
The full report should be referenced as follows:
UNEP (2014) Assessing Global Land Use: Balancing Consumption with Sustainable Supply. A Report of the Working Group on Land and Soils of the International Resource Panel. Bringezu S., Schütz H., Pengue W., O´Brien M., Garcia F., Sims R., Howarth R., Kauppi L., Swilling M., and Herrick J.
Job Number: DTI/1658/PAISBN: 978-92-807-3330-3
UNEP promotes environmentally sound practices globally and in its own activities. This report is printed on paper from sustainable forests includ-ing recycled fibre. The paper is chlorine free and the inks vegetable-based. Our distribution policy aims to reduce UNEP’s carbon footprint.
About the International Resource Panel
This report was prepared by the Working Group on Land and Soils of the International Resource Panel (IRP). The IRP was established to provide independent, coherent and authoritative scientific assessments on the use of natural resources and its environmental impacts over the full life cycle and contribute to a better understanding of how to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation. Benefiting from the broad support of governments and scientific communities, the Panel is constituted of eminent scientists and experts from all parts of the world, bringing their multidisciplinary expertise to address resource management issues. The information contained in the International Resource Panel’s reports is intended to be evidence based and policy relevant, informing policy framing and development and supporting evaluation and monitoring of policy effectiveness. The Secretariat is hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).Since the International Resource Panel’s launch in 2007, nine assessments have been published. This first series of reports covered biofuels; priority economic sectors and materials for sustainable resource management; metals stocks in society, their environmental risks and challenges, their rates of recycling and recycling opportunities; water accounting; city-level decoupling and finally the untapped potential for decoupling resource use and related environmental impacts from economic growth.The assessments of the IRP to date demonstrate the numerous opportunities for governments and businesses to work together to create and implement policies to encourage sustainable resource management, including through better planning, more investment, technological innovation and strategic incentives. Following its establishment, the Panel first devoted much of its research to issues related to the use, stocks and scarcities of individual resources, as well as to the development and application of the perspective of ‘decoupling’ economic growth from natural resource use and environmental degradation. Building upon this knowledge base, the Panel has now begun to examine systematic approaches to resource use. These include the direct and indirect (or embedded) impacts of trade on natural resource use and flows, and the city as a societal ‘node’ in which much of the current unsustainable usage of natural resources is socially and institutionally embedded. In a similar vein it has become apparent that the resource use and requirements of the global food consumption call for a better understanding of the food system as a whole, and in particular its role as a node for resources such as water, land, and biotic resources on the one hand and the varied range of social practices that drive the consumption of food on the other. The years to come will therefore focus on and further deepen these work streams.Upcoming work by the IRP Land and Soils Working Group will focus on land potential evaluation systems and resilience.

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