Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Agriculture and land use issues

Authors
item Hess, J -
item Jacobson, Jacob -
item Karlen, Douglas
item Muth, David -
item Nelson, Richard -
item Ovard, Leslie -
item Searcy, Erin -
item Ulrich, Thomas -

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: April 15, 2010
Publication Date: December 15, 2010
Citation: Hess, J.R., Jacobson, J.J., Karlen, D.L., Muth, D.J., Nelson, R.G., Ovard, L.P., Searcy, E.M., Ulrich, T.H. 2010. Agriculture and land use issues. In: Rosillo-Calle, Frank and Johnson, Francis X, editors. Food versus Fuel: An Informed Introduction to Biofuels. London, UK: Zed Books Ltd. p. 86-115.

Technical Abstract: Large-scale biofuels development as a source of renewable energy will shift current dynamics in the agricultural sector that deliver food, feed, and fiber. This chapter examines the potential for modern agriculture to support a biofuels industry without comprimising its critical role for delivering food, feed, and fiber. Four key questions are examined. They are: (1) Does enough land exist to sustainably produce large quantities of biofuels in addition to that needed to meet increasing demand for food, feed, and fiber?; (2) Are the physical and geoclimatic attributes of land bases adequate to support and sustain biofuel production?; (3) How do existing agricultural production systems economically integrate biofuels production?; and, (4) What is the sustainable vision for the next-generation agricultural sector? We conclude that: (1) Sufficient land is available for increased agricultural production including crops for biofuel, but the land is disappropriately located; (2) Biofuels production will have some effect on land use change, but other factors such as changing food consumption patterns are likely to be more detrimental than producing biofuel feedstocks; and, (3) There are strategies worthy of investigation, such as integrated cropping systems, that could not only mitigate potential negative impacts, but also enhance overall sustainabilty. Finally, an integrated landscape vision is presented to illustrate that there is enough land for biofuel production without impacting food, feed, and fiber availability provided the entire agricultural system is operated using sustainable, well-managed strategies and practices.

Last Modified: 12/19/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page