Navigation Links
Global map provides new insights into land use
Date:11/5/2013

This news release is available in German.

Leipzig. In order to assess the global impacts of land use on the environment and help provide appropriate countermeasures, a group of researchers under the leadership of the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) has created a new world map of land use systems. Based on various indicators of land-use intensity, climate, environmental and socio-economic conditions, they identified twelve global patterns called land system archetypes. The scientists from UFZ with colleagues from the Humboldt-University Berlin and University Bonn have recently published their results in the journal Global Environmental Change.

Land use changes come in various forms: maize fields replace meadows and grasslands, tropical forests are cleared for pastures, steppes become cropland. The reasons are complex, the impacts are immense: animal and plant communities change, ecosystem functions disappear, carbon emissions contribute to climate change. Whatever happens regionally has global consequences. In order to better assess these impacts and help provide effective countermeasures, the researchers from UFZ created a world map that identifies twelve global land-use systems, also called archetypes. These include barren lands in the developing world, pastoral systems or extensive cropping systems. Germany, for instance, together with most of the Western Europe, Eastern USA and Western Australia represents the 'intensive cropping system' that covers about 5% of the terrestrial Earth surface. This system is characterised by high density of cropland, high inputs of nitrogen fertilisers, temperate climate, high crop yields, large capital investments in the agricultural sector, low proportion of GDP originating from agriculture and good access to market places.

What is novel about this research is the fact that the scientists analyzed significantly more data and indicators than what is common in similar studies. In contrast to traditional models of land use, over 30 factors with more than one million data points were processed. "For example, we didn't know before which regions had an unfulfilled potential for agricultural intensification given the environmental and socio-economic conditions, or in which regions the maximum agricultural yields were already achieved", says Tom Vclavk, a scientist and leading author from UFZ. The information that was usually hidden behind the complexity of data is now revealed. "If we had analysed only the environmental indicators, we could not identify where viable opportunities for yield improvements exist".

This new analysis also shows a different picture of land use than scientists had before. China, for example, belongs to five different archetypes. "It was surprising to see that the intensity and type of land use in some regions of China was quite similar to the situation in Western Europe or the United States. Thus, parts of China, together with particular regions of India and, of course, large areas of Europe, were assigned to the 'intensive cropping systems' archetype", says Tom Vclavk.

According to the co-author and the head of the Department of Computational Landscape Ecology at UFZ Leipzig, Prof. Ralf Seppelt, this representation of land systems is useful also because we can now provide science-based policy recommendations for regions in certain land-use types on how to avoid negative consequences of land use.

This can be easily explained with examples from Latin America and Southeast Asia: many areas in these regions are classified as 'degraded forest/cropland systems in the tropics' characterized by extremely high soil erosion. Because the socio-economic data show that agriculture plays an important role in the national economy of the local countries, it is essential to develop and apply erosion control measures for these regions. Only then the agricultural yields could increase without negatively affecting the environment. In other land systems the situation is quite different. The extensive cropping systems of Eastern Europe or India still have a high potential to increase the agricultural yields. Such opportunities, however, are largely exhausted in the intensive cropping systems of Western Europe and the USA.

This study is a product of the scientific coordination project GLUES (Global Assessment of Land Use Dynamics, Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Ecosystem Services), which is a part of the Sustainable Land Management research program funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. In this program, international research teams investigate land use changes in twelve regions worldwide. The GLUES team not only links the regional projects and communicates their results to the public and the scientific community, but it also conducts research in the area of scientific synthesis as in the current study. For Ralf Seppelt, the leader of the GLUES project, the land system archetypes thus represent an important achievement: "They help us understand the interactions between human activities on the one hand and social and environmental changes on the other."


'/>"/>

Contact: Tilo Arnhold
presse@ufz.de
49-341-235-1635
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Global change: Stowaways threaten fisheries in the Arctic
2. Next-generation global e-infrastructure for taxon names registry
3. University of Louisville researchers sign global licensing agreement
4. UCLA report urges new global policy effort to tackle crisis of plastic litter in oceans
5. ImageWare Systems Provides Next Generation Cloud Identity Management and Authentication Services to Global Payouts MoneyTracTM Consolidated Payment Gateway
6. Frost & Sullivan: Global Commercial Biometrics Market to Grow Considerably as Awareness Increases
7. Global ocean currents explain why Northern Hemisphere is the soggier one
8. Historic trends predict future global reforestation unlikely
9. Global Next Generation Sequencing Market 2012-2016
10. Protecting the weedy and wild kin of globally important crops
11. Global study reveals new hotspots of fish biodiversity
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Global map provides new insights into land use
(Date:4/11/2017)... , April 11, 2017 NXT-ID, Inc. ... technology company, announces the appointment of independent Directors Mr. ... to its Board of Directors, furthering the company,s corporate governance ... Gino ... we look forward to their guidance and benefiting from their ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... 2017 Today HYPR Corp. , leading ... component of the HYPR platform is officially FIDO® ... security architecture that empowers biometric authentication across Fortune 500 ... secured over 15 million users across the financial services ... home product suites and physical access represent a growing ...
(Date:4/3/2017)... , April 3, 2017  Data ... precision engineering platform, detected a statistically significant ... product prior to treatment and objective response ... the potential to predict whether cancer patients ... to treatment, as well as to improve ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... a leading provider of patient support solutions, has announced the ... which will launch this week. The VMS CNEs will address ... enhance the patient care experience by delivering peer-to-peer education programs ... to help women who have been diagnosed and are being ... ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... San Diego-based team building and cooking events ... announced today. The bold new look is part of a transformation to increase ... a significant growth period. , It will also expand its service offering from its ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... SomaGenics announced the receipt of a Phase ... (Single Cell), expected to be the first commercially available ... from single cells using NGS methods. The NIH,s recent ... development of approaches to analyze the heterogeneity of cell ... for measuring levels of mRNAs in individual cells have ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... , ... October 09, 2017 , ... At its national ... Christopher Stubbs, a professor in Harvard University’s Departments of Physics and Astronomy, has been ... a member of the winning team for the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental physics ...
Breaking Biology Technology: