The potential for land sparing to offset greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture

A Lamb, R Green, I Bateman, M Broadmeadow, T Bruce, J Burney, P Carey, D Chadwick, E Crane, R Field, K Goulding, H Griffiths, A Hastings, T Kasoar, D Kindred, B Phalan, J Pickett, P Smith, E Wall, EKHJ zu ErmgassenA Balmford

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

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2 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Greenhouse gas emissions from global agriculture are increasing at around 1% per annum, yet substantial cuts in emissions are needed across all sectors. The challenge of reducing agricultural emissions is particularly acute, because the reductions achievable by changing farming practices are limited and are hampered by rapidly rising food demand. Here we assess the technical mitigation potential offered by land sparing—increasing agricultural yields, reducing farmland area and actively restoring natural habitats on the land spared. Restored habitats can sequester carbon and can offset emissions from agriculture. Using the UK as an example, we estimate net emissions in 2050 under a range of future agricultural scenarios. We find that a land-sparing strategy has the technical potential to achieve significant reductions in net emissions from agriculture and land-use change. Coupling land sparing with demand-side strategies to reduce meat consumption and food waste can further increase the technical mitigation potential—however, economic and implementation considerations might limit the degree to which this technical potential could be realized in practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)488 - 492
Number of pages5
JournalNature Climate Change
Volume6
Early online date4 Jan 2016
DOIs
Publication statusFirst published - 4 Jan 2016

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greenhouse gas
agriculture
mitigation
agricultural land
habitat
agricultural emission
food
meat
demand
land use change
land
land use
scenario
carbon
economics

Bibliographical note

1023378

Keywords

  • Agriculture
  • Climate change mitigation

Cite this

Lamb, A., Green, R., Bateman, I., Broadmeadow, M., Bruce, T., Burney, J., ... Balmford, A. (2016). The potential for land sparing to offset greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. Nature Climate Change, 6, 488 - 492. https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate2910
Lamb, A ; Green, R ; Bateman, I ; Broadmeadow, M ; Bruce, T ; Burney, J ; Carey, P ; Chadwick, D ; Crane, E ; Field, R ; Goulding, K ; Griffiths, H ; Hastings, A ; Kasoar, T ; Kindred, D ; Phalan, B ; Pickett, J ; Smith, P ; Wall, E ; zu Ermgassen, EKHJ ; Balmford, A. / The potential for land sparing to offset greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. In: Nature Climate Change. 2016 ; Vol. 6. pp. 488 - 492.
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Lamb, A, Green, R, Bateman, I, Broadmeadow, M, Bruce, T, Burney, J, Carey, P, Chadwick, D, Crane, E, Field, R, Goulding, K, Griffiths, H, Hastings, A, Kasoar, T, Kindred, D, Phalan, B, Pickett, J, Smith, P, Wall, E, zu Ermgassen, EKHJ & Balmford, A 2016, 'The potential for land sparing to offset greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture', Nature Climate Change, vol. 6, pp. 488 - 492. https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate2910

The potential for land sparing to offset greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. / Lamb, A; Green, R; Bateman, I; Broadmeadow, M; Bruce, T; Burney, J; Carey, P; Chadwick, D; Crane, E; Field, R; Goulding, K; Griffiths, H; Hastings, A; Kasoar, T; Kindred, D; Phalan, B; Pickett, J; Smith, P; Wall, E; zu Ermgassen, EKHJ; Balmford, A.

In: Nature Climate Change, Vol. 6, 04.01.2016, p. 488 - 492.

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

TY - JOUR

T1 - The potential for land sparing to offset greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture

AU - Lamb, A

AU - Green, R

AU - Bateman, I

AU - Broadmeadow, M

AU - Bruce, T

AU - Burney, J

AU - Carey, P

AU - Chadwick, D

AU - Crane, E

AU - Field, R

AU - Goulding, K

AU - Griffiths, H

AU - Hastings, A

AU - Kasoar, T

AU - Kindred, D

AU - Phalan, B

AU - Pickett, J

AU - Smith, P

AU - Wall, E

AU - zu Ermgassen, EKHJ

AU - Balmford, A

N1 - 1023378

PY - 2016/1/4

Y1 - 2016/1/4

N2 - Greenhouse gas emissions from global agriculture are increasing at around 1% per annum, yet substantial cuts in emissions are needed across all sectors. The challenge of reducing agricultural emissions is particularly acute, because the reductions achievable by changing farming practices are limited and are hampered by rapidly rising food demand. Here we assess the technical mitigation potential offered by land sparing—increasing agricultural yields, reducing farmland area and actively restoring natural habitats on the land spared. Restored habitats can sequester carbon and can offset emissions from agriculture. Using the UK as an example, we estimate net emissions in 2050 under a range of future agricultural scenarios. We find that a land-sparing strategy has the technical potential to achieve significant reductions in net emissions from agriculture and land-use change. Coupling land sparing with demand-side strategies to reduce meat consumption and food waste can further increase the technical mitigation potential—however, economic and implementation considerations might limit the degree to which this technical potential could be realized in practice.

AB - Greenhouse gas emissions from global agriculture are increasing at around 1% per annum, yet substantial cuts in emissions are needed across all sectors. The challenge of reducing agricultural emissions is particularly acute, because the reductions achievable by changing farming practices are limited and are hampered by rapidly rising food demand. Here we assess the technical mitigation potential offered by land sparing—increasing agricultural yields, reducing farmland area and actively restoring natural habitats on the land spared. Restored habitats can sequester carbon and can offset emissions from agriculture. Using the UK as an example, we estimate net emissions in 2050 under a range of future agricultural scenarios. We find that a land-sparing strategy has the technical potential to achieve significant reductions in net emissions from agriculture and land-use change. Coupling land sparing with demand-side strategies to reduce meat consumption and food waste can further increase the technical mitigation potential—however, economic and implementation considerations might limit the degree to which this technical potential could be realized in practice.

KW - Agriculture

KW - Climate change mitigation

U2 - 10.1038/nclimate2910

DO - 10.1038/nclimate2910

M3 - Letter

VL - 6

SP - 488

EP - 492

JO - Nature Climate Change

JF - Nature Climate Change

SN - 1758-678X

ER -

Lamb A, Green R, Bateman I, Broadmeadow M, Bruce T, Burney J et al. The potential for land sparing to offset greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. Nature Climate Change. 2016 Jan 4;6:488 - 492. https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate2910