The purpose of the present PhD project was to identify the mechanisms governing global land use consequences of increased crop demand in a given location and, based on this conceptual analysis, to present and demonstrate a method proposal for construction of land use data that can be used in life cycle assessments involving crop consumption. Increased demand for a given crop can be met by intensification, expansion, and/or by displacement of other crops or pastures. The last option will reduce the supply of other agricultural products, which may then be replaced elsewhere. Such displacement-replacement mechanisms are governed by the availability of suitable agricultural land and several economic conditions, such as transport and trade costs. To estimate the land use response to an increase in crop demand, economic modelling can be used. In this project, the economic equilibrium model GTAP (Global Trade Analysis Project) was modified and applied to simulate increased demand for wheat in respectively Brazil, China, Denmark, and the USA. The net expansion of the global agricultural area was thereby estimated and it was attempted to classify the affected nature types (biomes) by use of global agricultural maps and agricultural statistics.
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Nielsen, Jens, Hauschild, Michael Zwicky, Wenzel, Henrik