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Land use modeling: from farm to food systems

van Zanten, H.H.E.; Müller, A. and Frehner, A. (2022) Land use modeling: from farm to food systems. In: Peters, Christian and Thilmany, Dawn (Eds.) Food Systems Modelling. Elsevier Inc., chapter 5, pp. 89-105.

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Document available online at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780128221129000114?via%3Dihub


In this chapter we discuss how methodological choices can lead to different solutions when assessing land use. We focus on the following three methodologies: Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), Land Use Ratio (LUR), and the food systems approach. Each method has its own strengths. LCA offers the best estimates of how we should change our diets at the margin in the near term to reduce land use (or other environmental impacts). The LUR provides insight in how to avoid feed-food competition, while the food systems approach provides key insights for deciding which systems we want in the long term. Our results show that despite methodological differences, all methods conclude to reduce the consumption of animal source food in high-income countries to reduce land use. Studies based on the LCA methodology focusing on consumption-oriented dietary scenarios tend to suggest that beef should be reduced most followed by pork and chicken, whereas studies applying food system modeling approaches tend to recommend larger reductions for chicken and pork and partly beef (from beef breeds and not from dairy cattle). Making these underlying assumptions explicit in future scientific and policy advisory work is key for improved transparency regarding food systems changes that reduce land use and feed-food competition, thereby enabling effective communication and policy design.

EPrint Type:Book chapter
Keywords:Land use, Life cycle assessment (LCA), Land use ratio (LUR), Food Systems, Modeling, Diets, Abacus, FiBL35217
Agrovoc keywords:
land use
life cycle
food systems
Subjects: Food systems > Food security, food quality and human health
Food systems > Policy environments and social economy
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Society > Agri-food policy > Food security
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Society > Agri-food policy > Modeling
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Sustainability > Sustainability assessment
Deposited By: Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau, FiBL
ID Code:44619
Deposited On:17 Nov 2022 08:48
Last Modified:24 Feb 2023 09:24
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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