Review of land flow accounting methods and recommendations for further development

Bruckner M, Giljum S, Fischer G, & Tramberend S (2017). Review of land flow accounting methods and recommendations for further development. Umweltbundesamt , Dessau-Roßlau.

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Project: Landflow

Abstract

Robust land footprint indicators can potentially extend the consumption-based resource use indicator of the German sustainability strategy, which focuses on abiotic resources including fossil fuels, metals, and construction and industrial minerals and decidedly excludes biotic resources.
Various approaches exist for quantifying the land embodied in international trade flows and consumption, i.e. the land footprint. These can be classified into a) environmental-economic accounting approaches, applying input-output analysis and tracking supply chains in monetary values, b) physical accounting approaches, using an accounting framework based on data for production, trade and utilization of agricultural and forestry commodities and tracking supply chains in physical units, and c) hybrid accounting, combining elements from both environmental-economic and physical accounting. The results of recent studies vary widely, indicating a lack of robustness and thus hampering their application in policy making.
This report provides an in-depth review of the current state of the art in measuring land footprints. We identify differences in available accounting methods and indicate their shortcomings, which are mainly attributable to the product and supply chain coverage and detail, and biases introduced by the use of monetary flows as a proxy for actual physical flows. We offer options and give clear recommendations for the further development of actual and virtual global biomass and land flow accounting methods, particularly highlighting the advantages of hybrid accounting approaches as a framework for the robust and transparent assessment of land footprints associated with global biomass flows.

Item Type: Other
Research Programs: Water (WAT)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2017 14:40
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2017 14:02
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/14808

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