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Feeding the world’s population while ensuring the environmental sustainability is one of the world’s ‘grand challenges’. As we look ahead to the middle of this century, will the world’s agricultural resource base be up to the task of meeting the diverse demands being placed on it by growing population, rising incomes, growing biofuel production and rising demand for land-based environmental services? In this chapter we lay out a framework for thinking about the long run sustainability of the world’s food and environmental systems. This model brings together factors from the demand side (population, income, biofuels) as well as the supply side (technological progress, climate change, competing land uses) in order to predict the equilibrium use of land in agriculture over the long run. Absent economic responses, this boils down to a food race between demand growth and improving yields. By bringing the responsiveness of demand and supply to scarcity into the picture, we find that the resource requirements due to growing demands are muted. This framework also gives us a vehicle for determining how much of the adjustment to potential scarcity will come through reduced consumption and how much from increased supplies. The former has important consequences for nutrition, while the latter can have serious environmental impacts. This basic framework, which is fully developed in Appendix B, forms the basis for the economic analysis throughout this book.
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- Overview of Global Land Use, Food Security and the Environment
Thomas W. Hertel
Uris Lantz C. Baldos
- Springer International Publishing
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- Chapter 1