Brazil's current and future land balances: Is there residual land for bioenergy production?

Lossau, S., Fischer, G., Tramberend, S. ORCID:, van Velthuizen, H., Kleinschmit, B., & Schomaeker, R. (2015). Brazil's current and future land balances: Is there residual land for bioenergy production? Biomass and Bioenergy 81 452-461. 10.1016/j.biombioe.2015.07.024.

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This study presents a new database of land use categories in Brazil at a spatial resolution of 30 arc-second (about 1 km^2). The spatial representation of current major land uses formally combines agricultural statistics from Brazil's latest census of the year 2006 at micro-region level and the Food and Agriculture Organization 2010 forest statistics with spatial land cover data sets. Spatial allocation ("downscaling") algorithms were applied to obtain a spatial distribution of seven major land use categories. Remaining shares in each grid-cell were termed residual land, and were categorized according to legal protection status, biodiversity value, and whether they belong to the territory of the Amazon biome. We found a total of 84 Mha residual land of which 37 Mha occurred outside the territory of the Amazon biome and was neither legally protected nor categorized as highly biodiverse land. The 37 Mha "available residual land" equates to 4.4% of Brazil's geographical area and to 50% of its current cultivated land area. We assessed land quality using the Agro-ecological Zones modelling framework provides land suitability and productivity estimates of the available residual land. Nearly one-third of land emerged of prime quality and is therefore promising for biofuel feedstock production. Analysis of potential food-fuel competition suggests that until 2030 productivity improvements on current pastures could accommodate land demand for Brazil's increasing cattle herd and expanding croplands. If these productivity increases could be achieved on current agricultural land, residual land could provide areas for the sustainable expansion of biofuel feedstock production.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Brazilian land balance; Residual land; Sequential downscaling; Sustainability criteria
Research Programs: Water (WAT)
Bibliographic Reference: Biomass and Bioenergy; 81:452-461 (October 2015) (Published online 11 August 2015)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:53
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:25

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