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Chapter 20 - Land and Water: Linkages to Bioenergy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 September 2012

Suani T. Coelho
National Reference Center on Biomass, University of São Paulo
Olivia Agbenyega
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
Astrid Agostini
Food and Agriculture Organization
Karl-Heinz Erb
Klagenfurt University
Helmut Haberl
Klagenfurt University
Monique Hoogwijk
Rattan Lal
The Ohio State University
Oswaldo Lucon
São Paulo State Environment Agency
Omar Masera
National Autonomous University
Jos É Roberto Moreira
Biomass Users Network
Gunilla Björklund
Uppsala University
Fridolin Krausmann
Klagenfurt University
Siwa Msangi
International Food Policy Research Institute
Christoph Plutzar
Klagenfurt University
Rik Leemans
Wageningen University
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Executive Summary

Sustainably managing limited resources, such as productive land areas and available freshwater, will be one of the world's most pressing challenges in the coming years. Population increases and economic growth will significantly influence humanity's future demand for land and water for different uses. In particular, changes in food and energy use will have substantial environmental impacts. They will also influence each other in many ways. At the same time, the production of food and energy, and the water resources they require, will be affected by global climate change. Sustainability issues arising from competition and synergies between future production of bioenergy and food, and related water use, are highly important in this context.

Population growth is one of the factors contributing to increased demand for land and water. While the world's population has approximately doubled since the 1960s, global economic activity has increased approximately 40 fold. Since growth in incomes is strongly correlated with increased consumption of animal-derived food (meat, milk, eggs), the combination of population increases and economic growth will likely result in increased feed and food production. This will drive up pressures on land and water resources if not counteracted by innovations that reduce land and water use. Social inequities are increasing as well, with both very rich and very poor populations often practicing ‘inefficient’ methods of using land and water.

Global Energy Assessment
Toward a Sustainable Future
, pp. 1459 - 1526
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2012

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