Land Use Change in Europe- Scenarios for a Project Area in East Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic

Prieler, S. ORCID:, Hamann, B., Anderberg, S. ORCID:, & Stigliani, W.M. (1996). Land Use Change in Europe- Scenarios for a Project Area in East Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. IIASA Working Paper. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: WP-96-040

[thumbnail of WP-96-040.pdf]

Download (2MB) | Preview


This study identifies plausible scenarios for land use changes for a project area located at the coexistent borders of Poland, the Czech Republic and East Germany. The time frame is 1992 to 2050 with an intermediate step in 2020. The basis for the scenarios is an analysis of the driving forces for land use change in the context of the study area. The main emphasis here is on the EU's Common Agricultural Policy and trends in agriculture and forestry in the three countries of the project area. In addition former land use change, spread of urban areas, the state of mining areas, recreation and nature conservation and policies related to land use planning are of importance and therefore analyzed for each country.

The direction of land use change between 1960 and present was a decrease in agricultural land and an increase in forest and 'other' area, which mainly consists of urban area and area for infrastructure. Recent changes in the Common Agricultural Policy aim at reducing overproduction an cut spending in general. The prevailing tendency is to liberalize the agricultural sector to shift from product tied payments to direct payments to farmers for social, environmental or cultural duties. Since the political changes in 1989 the three countries of the project area have undergone significant economic and structural changes. East Germany as part of Unified Germany and part of the EU has experienced the most drastic restructuring of the agricultural sector with the main feature of major job losses and production decreases, especially in the livestock sector. Similar developments, though not as radical, can be observed in Poland and the Czech Republic.

The first Scenario, "Large Scale Increase of Wooded Area", anticipates the introduction of a free market economy to the agricultural sector. No more subsidies are required for agriculture. Large areas of marginal farmland have to be taken out of production. The price of land decreases. Farmers will either afforest their farmland or sell it to non-agricultural uses like urban development, recreation or nature conservation are options for farmers. A quantification for the project area foresees by 2050 a decrease of agricultural land to half of its size in 1992, a doubling of forest and an increase of 'other' area by 80%.

Scenario 2, "Alternative Agricultural Products", assumes a shift from food production to nonfood products, mainly biofuel and incentives for an extensification of agricultural production. Subsidies, that are still required for the agricultural sector, will be kept. The overall policy aims at keeping the land open, avoiding uncontrolled spreading of urban development and providing prospect for development and employment in rural areas.

The main characteristic of Scenario 3, "Europe as Food Exporter", is an increase in the demand for agricultural products, which by approximately 2010 triggers a increase in the world market price for food products. Reasons for this are population and wealth increase, especially in China an south east Asia, combined with environmental constraints like water or fertile land scarcity and erosion. As a result agricultural production in Europe becomes prosperous in the frame of a free market environment. No further subsidies are required for the sector. Until 2010 the development is similar to Scenario 2. Scenario 2 and 3 show only modest changes in land use patterns, but the agricultural production structure differs. Scenario 2 focuses on a mixture of food and non-food products, while in Scenario 3 all available farmland is used for food production after 2010.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Working Paper)
Research Programs: Industrial Metabolism (IND)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 02:08
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:15

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item