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Modelling environmental and socio-economic impacts of cropland
expansion and conservation policies
Ruth Delzeit, 19.02.24
Background
Large potentials
• to close current yield gaps (e.g. Mueller et al. 2012, Mauser et al. 2015, Davis et al. 2017)
• to reduce the globally cultivated area (Folberth et al. 2020, Schneider et al. 2023)
But: cropland is still expanded in many regions, most notably in Africa and South America (Popatov
et al. 2021)
Implications:
• Loss and fragmentation of natural habitat
• GHG emissions due to land-use and land cover change
Universität Basel 2
Ruth Delzeit, Expert Workshop on Modelling the triple Planetary Crisis: Impacts and Policies, 19.02.24
Background
State of the art:
• various studies on future expansion exist (e.g. Schmitz et al. 2014, Tilman et al. 2017) 10 13 20
• most studies explore expansion dynamics by referring to one single future cropland extent
resulting either endogenous from the scenario or exogeneous as a predefined
assumption14,15,45,46. (e.g. Delzeit et al. 2017, Zabel et al. 2019, OECD/FAO 2023)
• only a few capture the interdisciplinary context of the drivers and trade-offs in a global, spatially
explicit global-to-local-to-global research framework (e.g. Molotoks et al. 2018)
• Spatial data on potential future expansion area and potential yields is lacking
Objective:
• Identify areas that are under the highest pressure of being transformed into cropland in the future
• Identify areas with strongest trade-offs between food production, mitigation of climate change
and protection of biodiversity
Universität Basel 3
Ruth Delzeit, Expert Workshop on Modelling the triple Planetary Crisis: Impacts and Policies, 19.02.24
An integrated modelling system
Universität Basel 4
Ruth Delzeit, Expert Workshop on Modelling the triple Planetary Crisis: Impacts and Policies, 19.02.24
Adding Biodiversity
Source: Zabel*, Delzeit*, Vaclavik* et al. 2019, Nat Comm
* Equal contributions
Ruth Delzeit, Expert Workshop on Modelling the triple Planetary Crisis: Impacts and Policies, 19.02.24 Universität Basel 5
Hotspots of future trade-offs
Universität Basel 6
Source: Zabel*, Delzeit*, Vaclavik* et al. 2019, Nat Comm
* Equal contributions
Top-pressure regions
in Central America,
tropical Andes, West
and East Africa, India,
Southeast Asia, parts
of Australia
35% protected
Ruth Delzeit, Expert Workshop on Modelling the triple Planetary Crisis: Impacts and Policies, 19.02.24
Adding cropland expansion into unmanaged areas
Universität Basel 7
Ruth Delzeit, Expert Workshop on Modelling the triple Planetary Crisis: Impacts and Policies, 19.02.24
Source: Schneider et al, under review
Biodiversity Intactness Index (BII)
Ruth Delzeit, Expert Workshop on Modelling the triple Planetary Crisis: Impacts and Policies, 19.02.24
• PREDICTS database (Contu et al. 2022), and extensions
• Extension of the modelling approach by Purvis et al. 2018
• Estimation of an abundance model
• Estimation of a compositional similarity model
Source: Schneider et al, under review
Universität Basel 8
CO2 emissions caused by cropland expansion
Ruth Delzeit, Expert Workshop on Modelling the triple Planetary Crisis: Impacts and Policies, 19.02.24
Assessment the change in carbon stocks based on the potential natural vegetation cover and
the current land-use state compared to a use as cropland
• Data on the average carbon stocks in biomass and soil of 11 different types of potential natural
vegetation (PNV) depending on their land-use states (cover type) as primary land, secondary
land, pastureland or cropland, based on Hansis et al. (2015)
• Spatial distribution of the different PNV types is provided by Pongratz et al. (2008)
• The spatial distribution of primary land, secondary land and pastureland is assessed in the same
way as for the biodiversity impact assessment on a 1 km spatial resolution referring to HILDA+
land-use data (Winkler et al. 2020) and the integrative global dataset on human influence (Riggio
et al. 2020).
Source: Schneider et al, under review
Universität Basel 9
Scenarios
Universität Basel 10
+3.6% +3.6%
Source: Schneider et al, under review
Ruth Delzeit, Expert Workshop on Modelling the triple Planetary Crisis: Impacts and Policies, 19.02.24
Results – areas of cropland expansion
Ruth Delzeit, Expert Workshop on Modelling the triple Planetary Crisis: Impacts and Policies, 19.02.24
Source: Schneider et al,
under review
potential relative expansion
of current cropland within
each region
absolute regional distribution
of current cropland and the
assessed profitable
expansion areas
Universität Basel 11
Results – areas under pressure under unrestricted expansion
Ruth Delzeit, Expert Workshop on Modelling the triple Planetary Crisis: Impacts and Policies, 19.02.24
Source: Schneider et al,
under review
Universität Basel 12
Results – generated CO2 emissions
Ruth Delzeit, Expert Workshop on Modelling the triple Planetary Crisis: Impacts and Policies, 19.02.24
Source: Schneider et al,
under review
Universität Basel 13
Results – impacts on BII
Ruth Delzeit, Expert Workshop on Modelling the triple Planetary Crisis: Impacts and Policies, 19.02.24
Source: Schneider et al,
under review
Universität Basel 14
Results – impacts of conservation policies
Ruth Delzeit, Expert Workshop on Modelling the triple Planetary Crisis: Impacts and Policies, 19.02.24
Source: Schneider et al,
under review
Universität Basel 15
Some challenges
Definitions and units:
• Yields
• Crop aggregates
• Hectares
What to pass on?
• Harvested vs cultivated area
• Pass on yearly data?
• How often to iterate?
Ruth Delzeit, Expert Workshop on Modelling the triple Planetary Crisis: Impacts and Policies, 19.02.24 Universität Basel 16
Summary
• High potential of global conservation policies to reduce the environmental effects of cropland expansion
without compromising agricultural production
→ potential contribution of strategic land-use planning to reconcile food security and economic interests
with the protection of climate and biodiversity
• Flexible, integrative approach for different scenarios
• It takes time to agree and understand a common terminology
• Openness for other disciplines needed
• Approach open for additional features
Ruth Delzeit, Expert Workshop on Modelling the triple Planetary Crisis: Impacts and Policies, 19.02.24 Universität Basel 17
Thank you
for your attention.
And thanks to:
Julia M. Schneider, Florian Zabel, Christian Neumann, Tobias Heimann, Ralf Seppelt, Franziska
Schünemann, Mareike Söder, Wolfram Mauser

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Ruth Delzeit - Modelling environmental and socio-economic impacts of cropland expansion and conservation policies.pdf

  • 1. Modelling environmental and socio-economic impacts of cropland expansion and conservation policies Ruth Delzeit, 19.02.24
  • 2. Background Large potentials • to close current yield gaps (e.g. Mueller et al. 2012, Mauser et al. 2015, Davis et al. 2017) • to reduce the globally cultivated area (Folberth et al. 2020, Schneider et al. 2023) But: cropland is still expanded in many regions, most notably in Africa and South America (Popatov et al. 2021) Implications: • Loss and fragmentation of natural habitat • GHG emissions due to land-use and land cover change Universität Basel 2 Ruth Delzeit, Expert Workshop on Modelling the triple Planetary Crisis: Impacts and Policies, 19.02.24
  • 3. Background State of the art: • various studies on future expansion exist (e.g. Schmitz et al. 2014, Tilman et al. 2017) 10 13 20 • most studies explore expansion dynamics by referring to one single future cropland extent resulting either endogenous from the scenario or exogeneous as a predefined assumption14,15,45,46. (e.g. Delzeit et al. 2017, Zabel et al. 2019, OECD/FAO 2023) • only a few capture the interdisciplinary context of the drivers and trade-offs in a global, spatially explicit global-to-local-to-global research framework (e.g. Molotoks et al. 2018) • Spatial data on potential future expansion area and potential yields is lacking Objective: • Identify areas that are under the highest pressure of being transformed into cropland in the future • Identify areas with strongest trade-offs between food production, mitigation of climate change and protection of biodiversity Universität Basel 3 Ruth Delzeit, Expert Workshop on Modelling the triple Planetary Crisis: Impacts and Policies, 19.02.24
  • 4. An integrated modelling system Universität Basel 4 Ruth Delzeit, Expert Workshop on Modelling the triple Planetary Crisis: Impacts and Policies, 19.02.24
  • 5. Adding Biodiversity Source: Zabel*, Delzeit*, Vaclavik* et al. 2019, Nat Comm * Equal contributions Ruth Delzeit, Expert Workshop on Modelling the triple Planetary Crisis: Impacts and Policies, 19.02.24 Universität Basel 5
  • 6. Hotspots of future trade-offs Universität Basel 6 Source: Zabel*, Delzeit*, Vaclavik* et al. 2019, Nat Comm * Equal contributions Top-pressure regions in Central America, tropical Andes, West and East Africa, India, Southeast Asia, parts of Australia 35% protected Ruth Delzeit, Expert Workshop on Modelling the triple Planetary Crisis: Impacts and Policies, 19.02.24
  • 7. Adding cropland expansion into unmanaged areas Universität Basel 7 Ruth Delzeit, Expert Workshop on Modelling the triple Planetary Crisis: Impacts and Policies, 19.02.24 Source: Schneider et al, under review
  • 8. Biodiversity Intactness Index (BII) Ruth Delzeit, Expert Workshop on Modelling the triple Planetary Crisis: Impacts and Policies, 19.02.24 • PREDICTS database (Contu et al. 2022), and extensions • Extension of the modelling approach by Purvis et al. 2018 • Estimation of an abundance model • Estimation of a compositional similarity model Source: Schneider et al, under review Universität Basel 8
  • 9. CO2 emissions caused by cropland expansion Ruth Delzeit, Expert Workshop on Modelling the triple Planetary Crisis: Impacts and Policies, 19.02.24 Assessment the change in carbon stocks based on the potential natural vegetation cover and the current land-use state compared to a use as cropland • Data on the average carbon stocks in biomass and soil of 11 different types of potential natural vegetation (PNV) depending on their land-use states (cover type) as primary land, secondary land, pastureland or cropland, based on Hansis et al. (2015) • Spatial distribution of the different PNV types is provided by Pongratz et al. (2008) • The spatial distribution of primary land, secondary land and pastureland is assessed in the same way as for the biodiversity impact assessment on a 1 km spatial resolution referring to HILDA+ land-use data (Winkler et al. 2020) and the integrative global dataset on human influence (Riggio et al. 2020). Source: Schneider et al, under review Universität Basel 9
  • 10. Scenarios Universität Basel 10 +3.6% +3.6% Source: Schneider et al, under review Ruth Delzeit, Expert Workshop on Modelling the triple Planetary Crisis: Impacts and Policies, 19.02.24
  • 11. Results – areas of cropland expansion Ruth Delzeit, Expert Workshop on Modelling the triple Planetary Crisis: Impacts and Policies, 19.02.24 Source: Schneider et al, under review potential relative expansion of current cropland within each region absolute regional distribution of current cropland and the assessed profitable expansion areas Universität Basel 11
  • 12. Results – areas under pressure under unrestricted expansion Ruth Delzeit, Expert Workshop on Modelling the triple Planetary Crisis: Impacts and Policies, 19.02.24 Source: Schneider et al, under review Universität Basel 12
  • 13. Results – generated CO2 emissions Ruth Delzeit, Expert Workshop on Modelling the triple Planetary Crisis: Impacts and Policies, 19.02.24 Source: Schneider et al, under review Universität Basel 13
  • 14. Results – impacts on BII Ruth Delzeit, Expert Workshop on Modelling the triple Planetary Crisis: Impacts and Policies, 19.02.24 Source: Schneider et al, under review Universität Basel 14
  • 15. Results – impacts of conservation policies Ruth Delzeit, Expert Workshop on Modelling the triple Planetary Crisis: Impacts and Policies, 19.02.24 Source: Schneider et al, under review Universität Basel 15
  • 16. Some challenges Definitions and units: • Yields • Crop aggregates • Hectares What to pass on? • Harvested vs cultivated area • Pass on yearly data? • How often to iterate? Ruth Delzeit, Expert Workshop on Modelling the triple Planetary Crisis: Impacts and Policies, 19.02.24 Universität Basel 16
  • 17. Summary • High potential of global conservation policies to reduce the environmental effects of cropland expansion without compromising agricultural production → potential contribution of strategic land-use planning to reconcile food security and economic interests with the protection of climate and biodiversity • Flexible, integrative approach for different scenarios • It takes time to agree and understand a common terminology • Openness for other disciplines needed • Approach open for additional features Ruth Delzeit, Expert Workshop on Modelling the triple Planetary Crisis: Impacts and Policies, 19.02.24 Universität Basel 17
  • 18. Thank you for your attention. And thanks to: Julia M. Schneider, Florian Zabel, Christian Neumann, Tobias Heimann, Ralf Seppelt, Franziska Schünemann, Mareike Söder, Wolfram Mauser