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Sara Brogaard

Sara Brogaard

Senior Lecturer

Sara Brogaard

Drivers of global land use change : are increasing demands for food and bioenergy offset by technological change and yield increase?


  • Kerstin Engstrom

Summary, in English

Globally, the food and energy demands of the growing global population are rising and require increased agricultural

production. Additionally, climate change will have adverse effects on agricultural productivity. Technological change can

contribute to closing yield gaps and reducing post-harvest losses, but needs to be facilitated through investments and

education. Considering the multiple drivers of the land system and their complex interactions, it is one of the great challenges

of the 21st century to find solutions for how to sustainably increase food and bioenergy production. This requires

understanding of land use change, its drivers and their multiple interactions. Here, a parsimonious land use model (PLUM) is

developed and a review of global scenarios of environmental change is carried out to address the question of how drivers of

environmental change, including lifestyle-related dietary changes, bioenergy production, and technological change, will affect

future land use. The results of the model development and evaluation suggest that a parsimonious approach can contribute to

understanding and exploring solutions to the challenge outlined above. The model can reproduce agricultural land use at the

global and regional scale and at the same time the approach is explicit about uncertainties in model input parameters and the

quantification of uncertainty ranges for each model output. The exploration of the uncertainty range of the model parameters

showed that global cereal land is strongly affected by changes in cereal yields in developing countries. The increasing

demand for food, represented by cereals, milk and meat, had in the past 20 years only very little influence on expanding

agricultural land. The results of the review of bioenergy representation in global scenario studies show that assumptions

related to technological change, such as yield increase and efficiency of bioenergy production, are essential for the projected

land use for bioenergy in the future. The projected land use for bioenergy in the reviewed scenarios spans 0.2-10% of total

global area in 2100, which can be considered a wide range, given that current cropland is about 12% of global land area.

Further, the research suggests that high primary energy requirements, mitigation strategies, or a combination of these driving

forces, will in any case stimulate an increased bioenergy production in the future.


  • Dept of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science
  • BECC - Biodiversity and Ecosystem services in a Changing Climate

Publishing year




Document type

Licentiate thesis


Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science, Lund University


  • Physical Geography


  • Global land use change
  • food demands
  • bioenergy demands
  • technological change
  • modelling
  • scenarios
  • uncertainty




  • Almut Arneth
  • Mark Rounsevell
  • Jonathan Seaquist
  • Sara Brogaard


  • ISBN: 978-91-85793-33-4