Economic and ecological consequences of four European land use scenarios

02-07-2007 | Publication

The global context is important for future European land use, especially in futures where environmental policies are ignored. Environmental and trade agreements must be sufficiently integrated or coordinated, to assure they work together to improve the environment and attain the benefits of free trade.

Abstract

The impact of globalization on trade, production and land use is key to the Doha development round. This paper deals with the complex interaction between agricultural trade, production, land-use change and environmental consequences on the basis of four different scenarios. In these scenarios, major uncertainties from trade liberalization to maintained regional trade blocks are considered. Although economic growth is apparent in liberalizing scenarios, we also found that environmental threats of climate and nutrients to the sustainability of the global agricultural practices pose new challenges to future food production.

Since most of the environmental threats will be experienced in tropical regions where most of the increase in population and food and feed demand is expected, an indirect pressure on the European agricultural market is likely. For the coming decades European agriculture is expected to decrease slightly, especially in liberalizing worlds. New demand for land for biofuels, carbon plantations and the global food market, will prevent the European agricultural sector from being eliminated. Moreover, current EU policies already result in less vulnerable farmers to additional liberalizing policies. Therefore, we conclude the global context is important for future European land use, especially in futures where environmental policies are ignored. Therefore, we conclude that environmental and trade agreements must be sufficiently integrated or coordinated, to assure they work together to improve the environment and attain the benefits of free trade.