The environmental Life Cycle Assessment, LCA aims at providing a holistic and exhaustive environmental assessment of products and systems in order to allow decision makers to include environmental considerations in their decisions. The ambition of LCA is, thus, to be able include every significant environmental impact the studied systems may have. This ambition is better fulfilled for some environmental impact categories than for other. The use of land, i.e. the gain of land from nature converting it to agricultural land, cities, roads or other parts of techno-sphere, is an example of an impact that is only poorly dealt with by LCA methods. Even though the use of land, or change of land cover and its eco-systems, is acknowledged to be a very important impact of human activities, a methodology for assessing this impact category has not yet been properly developed within LCA. Some LCA scientists have looked into methods for assessing the impacts of given changes of land use, i.e. the impact assessment component of the LCA, but very few have looked into how to actually do the inventory modelling, i.e. how to identify which land is ultimately affected by the decision and system under study. State-of-the-art is that such inventories typically include data from crop production in the country in which the crop is used (or from where it is exported) and, thereby, the inventories do not necessarily consider crop and land displacements through market mechanisms and do, thus, not identify the land ultimately affected in the systems being studied. The aims of this paper is to analyse the mechanisms influencing the long-term land use consequences of changes in crop demand and propose a methodological framework for identifying these consequences within a global scope. The outset of the paper is the principles of consequential LCA, which means that the consequences of changes in consumption are studied in a market-based perspective. Based on the current market trend for crops and an analysis of basic mechanisms in crop production, concepts for modelling how crop consumption affects the global agricultural area and the intensity of crop production are suggested. It is demonstrated how the assumptions concerning drivers for technological development have a profound influence on the identification of the marginal response to crop consumption and how the geographical location of crop consumption also influence the composition of the marginal production response in terms of cropland expansion and intensification. It is found that economic modelling in combination with geographical information and agricultural statistics can be used to estimate long-term land use consequences of changes in crop consumption. Further integration of land use assessment in economic modelling has been targeted towards the GTAP model, and one approach has been to implement so-called land supply curves within the frames of this model, see further in the abstract of Kløverpris et al. in this abstract book.
Biofuel Assessment. Conference and Workshop: Modelling Global Land Use and Social Implications in the Sustainability Assessment of Biofuels, 2007, p. 15-16
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Biofuel Assessment. Conference and workshop: Modelling Global Land use and Social Implications in the Sustainability Assessment of Biofuels, 2007
Department of Manufacturing Engineering and Management, Technical University of Denmark