The global cropland footprint of the non-food bioeconomy. ZEF - Discussion Papers on Development Policy No. 253

Bruckner, Martin ORCID: and Giljum, Stefan and Fischer, Günther and Tramberend, Sylvia and Börner, Jan (2018) The global cropland footprint of the non-food bioeconomy. ZEF - Discussion Papers on Development Policy No. 253. Center for Development Research (ZEF), University Bonn, Bonn. ISSN 1436 - 9931


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A rapidly growing share of global agricultural areas is devoted to the production of biomass for non - food purposes. The derived products include, for example, biofuels, textiles, detergents or c osmetics. Given the far - reaching global implications of an expanding non - food bioeconomy, an assessment of the bioeconomy's resource use from a footprint perspective is urgently needed. We determine the global cropland footprint of non - food products with a hybrid land flow accounting model combining data from the Food and Agriculture Organization and the multi - regional input - output model EXIOBASE. The globally interlinked model covers all cropland areas used for the production of crop - and animal - based non - food commodities for the years from 1995 to 2010. We analyse global patterns of raw material producers, processers and consumers of bio-based non-food products, with a particular focus on the European Union. Results illustrate that the EU is a major processer and the number one consumer region of non-food cropland, despite being only the fifth largest producing region. Two thirds of the cropland required to satisfy EU non-food consumption are located in other world regions, giving rise to a significant depe ndency on imported products and to potential impacts on distant ecosystems. With almost 29% in 2010, oilseed production, used to produce, for example, biofuels, detergents and polymers, represents the dominant share in the EU's non-food cropland footprint. There is also a significant contribution of more traditional non-food biomass uses such as fibre crops (for textiles) and animal hides and skins (for leather products). Our study emphasises the importance of comprehensively assessing the implications of the non-food bioeconomy expansion as envisaged in various policy strategies, such as the Bioeconomy Strategy of the European Commission.

Item Type: Paper
Additional Information: This work was funded by the German Federal Environment Agency under the Environmental Research Plan (UFOPLAN, project number 3711 12 102 2), by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation, and the Bioeconomy Science Center.
Divisions: Departments > Sozioökonomie > Ecological Economics
Depositing User: Martin Bruckner
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2018 09:39
Last Modified: 22 Aug 2020 15:51
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