Article

Land use related to Dutch Consumption 1990-2013

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Abstract

Effects of Dutch consumption reach far beyond the country borders. The international consequences of consumption are related to imports of many commodities for consumptive needs. The goal of this study was to show the amount and distribution of land needed for Dutch national consumption, inside and outside the national borders. While this question has been investigated in general terms, the present study is motivated by the need to provide more accurate and precise product-level results that can be used in a practical way, for example to guide circular economy policy goals. A model was developed to determine land use of 40 commodities, combining use- /supply-based consumption data with agricultural/forestry yields in the main regions of origin, plus land used for housing, recreation etc. The model thus calculates a land footprint that reflects actual occupied hectares. The model comprises the time series from 1990 to 2013. The land used for the consumptive needs of Dutch people amounts to 8.6 million hectares in 2013, corresponding to 0.51 hectares per capita. This is over two and a half times the land area of the Netherlands itself. Land use is primarily related to forestry and agriculture, with paper and meat as important land requiring products. During the 1990–2013 period total land use has decreased by 10%, despite a population increase of 13% and an increase in GDP by 54%. The main causes for this decrease are increased agricultural yields and a decrease in paper and wood consumption after 2010. For the years 1990 and 2013 a comparison was made between land use with actual region-specific yields and global average yields. This exercise showed that, for the year 2013, land use calculated using global average yields was almost twice as much as that calculated using regional yields. This means our commodities originate from regions with relatively productive lands. For the year 1990 the difference was even larger, indicating a converging trend in global yields. In 2013 most land for Dutch consumption was occupied within the EU (53%, of which 20% in the Netherlands) and South America (18%).

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... Het daadwerkelijke landgebruik dat nodig is voor de Nederlandse consumptie wordt uitgedrukt in de landvoetafdruk. In 2017 was dit totale landgebruik ongeveer zo groot als drie maal het landoppervlak van Nederland (Nijdam et al. 2019; zie ook CLO 2 ). Na een krimp tijdens de economische crisis van het afgelopen decennium is deze voetafdruk weer groter aan het worden. ...
... Overigens, als we de landvoetafdruk met mondiaal gemiddelde opbrengstcijfers zouden berekenen, wat dus gebruikelijk is bij de berekening van de ecologische voetafdruk, dan zou de landvoetafdruk van de gemiddelde Nederlander een stuk groter zijn dan het mondiale gemiddelde (Nijdam et al. 2019). Al met al leidt het Nederlandse consumptiepatroon en de mondiaal gespecialiseerde productiestructuur tot een aanzienlijke landvoetafdruk elders in de wereld. ...
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Thesis
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... Hallak and Sivadasan (2013) find that exporting farms are able to charge higher prices. Given the high share of exports for Dutch horticultural products (Nijdam et al., 2019), the export position of farms is also a potential factor influencing the price heterogeneity between farms. 3 | DATA AND DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS ...
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Global warming represents one of the most critical internationally perceived environmental issues. The growing, and increasingly global, wine sector is one of the industries which is under increasing pressure to adopt approaches for environmental assessment and reporting of product-related greenhouse gas emissions. The International Organization for Vine and Wine has recently recognized the need to develop a standard and objective methodology and a related tool for calculating carbon footprint (CF). This study applied this tool to a wine previously analyzed using the life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology. The objective was to test the tool as regards both its potential and possible limitations, and thus to assess its suitability as a standard tool. Despite the tool's user-friendliness, a number of limitations were noted including the lack of accurate baseline data, a partial system boundary and the impossibility of dealing with the multi-functionality issue. When the CF and LCA results are compared in absolute terms, large discrepancies become obvious due to a number of different assumptions, as well as the modeling framework adopted. Nonetheless, in relative terms the results seem to be quite consistent. However, a critical limitation of the CF methodology was its focus on a single issue, which can lead to burden shifting. In conclusion, the study confirmed the need for both further improvement and adaptation to additional contexts and further studies to validate the use of this tool in different companies.
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Quadratic programming techniques were applied to household food consumption data in England and Wales to estimate likely changes in diet under healthy eating guidelines, and the consequences this would have on agriculture and land use in England and Wales. The first step entailed imposing nutrient restrictions on food consumption following dietary recommendations suggested by the UK Department of Health. The resulting diet was used, in a second step as a proxy for demand in agricultural commodities, to test the impact of such a scenario on food production and land use in England and Wales and the impacts of this on agricultural landscapes. Results of the diet optimisation indicated a large drop in consumption of foods rich in saturated fats and sugar, essentially cheese and sugar-based products, along with lesser cuts of fat and meat products. Conversely, consumption of fruit and vegetables, cereals, and flour would increase to meet dietary fibre recommendations. Such a shift in demand would dramatically affect production patterns: the financial net margin of England and Wales agriculture would rise, due to increased production of high market value and high economic margin crops. Some regions would, however, be negatively affected, mostly those dependent on beef cattle and sheep production that could not benefit from an increased demand for cereals and horticultural crops. The effects of these changes would also be felt in upstream industries, such as animal feed suppliers. While arable dominated landscapes would be little affected, pastoral landscapes would suffer through loss of grazing management and, possibly, land abandonment, especially in upland areas.
Article
This article addresses the present status of seafood-oriented environmental methods and analyses, and pinpoints areas for further development. A recent study of the CO2 emissions associated with the production of farmed salmon in Norway, following the life cycle from hatching to consumption, is presented. The study was initiated due to the increased focus on environmental impacts from food production among consumer organizations, retailers, and authorities. In general, several methods are being currently applied to measure environmental performance. Unfortunately, different methods provide quite different results. An additional challenge is that most of these methods were originally developed for land-based production. If assumptions about the performance of the seafood industry are established on the basis of incorrect information, consequences for both the management and the market level may not be desirable.
Article
Production of milk causes environmental side effects, such as emission of greenhouse gases and nutrient enrichment in surface water. Scientific evidence that shows differences in integral environmental impact between milk production systems in the Netherlands was underexposed. In this paper, two Dutch milk production systems, i.e. a conventional and an organic, were compared on their integral environmental impact and hotspots were identified in the conventional and organic milk production chains. Identification of a hotspot provides insight into mitigation options for conventional and organic milk production. Data of commercial farms that participated in two pilot-studies were used and refer to the year 2003. For each farm, a detailed cradle-to-farm-gate life cycle assessment, including on and off farm pollution was performed. Results showed better environmental performance concerning energy use and eutrophication potential per kilogram of milk for organic farms than for conventional farms. Furthermore, higher on-farm acidification potential and global warming potential per kilogram organic milk implies that higher ammonia, methane, and nitrous oxide emissions occur on farm per kilogram organic milk than for conventional milk. Total acidification potential and global warming potential per kilogram milk did not differ between the selected conventional and organic farms. In addition, results showed lower land use per kilogram conventional milk compared with organic milk. In the selected conventional farms, purchased concentrates was found to be the hotspot in off farm and total impact for all impact categories, whereas in the selected organic farms, both purchased concentrates and roughage were found to be the hotspots in off farm impact.
Article
Current intensive pig production is often associated with environmental burdens. However, very few studies deal with the environmental performance of both current and alternative systems of pig production. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the environmental impacts of three contrasting pig production systems using the life cycle assessment method and to identify hot spots for each system. The scenarios compared were conventional good agricultural practice (GAP) according to French production rules, a French quality label scenario called red label (RL) and a French organic scenario called organic agriculture (OA). For each of the three scenarios a “favourable” and an “unfavourable” variant was defined; these variants were used as indicators of uncertainty with respect to key parameters for technical performance and emissions of pollutants. The environmental categories assessed were: eutrophication, climate change, acidification, terrestrial toxicity, energy use, land use and pesticide use. Two functional units (FU) were used to express impacts: 1 kg of pig produced and 1 ha of land surface used. The scenarios were examined with particular emphasis on their contribution to eutrophication and acidification. Given this perspective, the RL scenario can be an interesting alternative to GAP on the condition that its emission of greenhouse gases can be reduced. The results for OA were very dependent on the choice of the FU. Per kg of pig, eutrophication and acidification were similar for OA and GAP, while OA had less eutrophication and acidification than GAP when expressed per ha. For the three scenarios, environmental hot spots and important margins of improvement were identified. Finally, the uncertainty analysis indicated that efforts should be made to produce more reliable estimations of emission factors for NO3, NH3 and N2O in the field.
Article
This paper assesses the area demand of Austria in the 75 years from 1926 to 2000. In order to estimate the area of arable land, pastures and forests needed to sustain Austria's socio-economic metabolism I used country-specific yields, contrary to the conventional Ecological Footprint approach that expresses its results in global average hectares. This study explicitly assesses the countries of origin of all imported biomass products. Forest areas were evaluated using two methods. In the ‘production’ approach country-specific felling rates were used, in the ‘sustainable yield approach’ wood increment per country was taken as a proxy for maximum sustainable yield. Austria's overall area demand is considerably larger than the biologically productive area of its own territory during the entire time period, mainly due to fossil fuel consumption. If only biomass use and built-up land are taken into account, both the production and the sustainable yield approach show an almost constant area demand from 1926 to 2000. In the production approach Austria's area demand is slightly larger than Austria's bioproductive area, in the sustainable yield approach it is slightly smaller. The area needed to support Austria's imports is mainly located in neighbouring countries. In earlier years eastern European countries (e.g., Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Serbia) play a major role, whereas in the recent decades the EU-15 countries are the main providers of Austrian area imports. In 2000, the area required to maintain imports is of a similar size as domestically used land, except for grasslands, demonstrating the dependence of Austria's socio-economic metabolism on regional or even global markets. This study shows that area demand depends on two factors: consumption level and yields per hectare. In the case of Austria, considerable increases in consumption were counterbalanced by yield surges. Indicators of area demand should therefore be complemented by indicators that evaluate the environmental effects of land use.
Article
The ecological footprint (EF) has received much attention as a potential indicator for sustainable development over the last years. In this article, the EF concept has been applied to Benin, Bhutan, Costa Rica and the Netherlands in 1980, 1987 and 1994. The results of the assessment are discussed and used to discuss the current potential and limitations of the EF as a sustainable development indicator. The originally defined methodology has been slightly adapted by the authors, who focus on individual components of the EF (land and carbon dioxide emissions) and use local yields instead of global averages. Although per capita and total land use differs among the four countries, available data suggest increasing land use in all four countries while per capita land use decreases. The EF for carbon dioxide emissions increases for all four countries in both per capita and absolute terms. Differences in productivity, aggregation (of different resources) and multi-functional land use have been shown to be important obstacles in EF application — depending on the assessment objective. However, despite the obstacles, the study concludes that the EF has been successful in providing an interesting basis for discussion on environmental effects of consumption patterns, including those outside the national borders, and on equity concerning resource use.
Article
The search for frameworks and indicators of sustainable development has taken a prominent place in this journal. However, some specific aspects have received little or no attention, notably the spatial dimension and the role of international trade in indicator development. Moreover, many sustainable development indicators comprise implicit valuations, weighting schemes and policy objectives, which are insufficiently recognised as such. This contribution tries to highlight these issues by means of a review of a recently proposed indicator for ecological–economic analysis, namely the ecological footprint, that has been developed by Wackernagel and Rees. Its concept and calculation procedure are criticised on a number of points, and it is concluded that the Ecological Footprint is not the comprehensive and transparent planning tool as is often assumed. In explaining our position we will argue that spatial sustainability and regional sustainable development have not been precisely discussed so far, neither in the literature on trade and environment, nor in that on sustainable development. We will defend the view that trade can contribute positively and negatively to environmental unsustainability. Consequently, indicators and models are needed that allow for analysing interactions and trade-offs between such opposite effects.
Article
1. On-farm quantification of sustainability indicators (SI) is an effective way to make sustainable development measurable. The egg production sector was used as a case study to illustrate this approach. 2. The objective was to select SI for economic, ecological and societal issues, and to analyse the performance on selected SI of different production systems. 3. For the case study, we compared 4 egg production systems, characterised by differences in the housing systems which are most common in the Netherlands: the battery-cage system, the deep-litter system with and without outdoor run, and the aviary system with outdoor run. 4. Based on a clear set of criteria, we selected SI for animal welfare, economics, environmental impact, ergonomics and product quality. 5. We showed that on-farm quantification of SI was an appropriate method to identify the strengths and weaknesses of different systems. 6. From this analysis it appears that the aviary system with outdoor run is a good alternative for the battery-cage system, with better scores for the aviary system on animal welfare and economics, but with worse scores on environmental impact.
Article
There is a growing consensus among natural and social scientists that sustainability depends on maintaining natural capital. However, progress to put this ecological condition to practice has been slow, not least because of the inability of making these objectives measurable. Therefore, to overcome this obstacle, assessment frameworks for natural capital are needed. This study presents a simple framework for national and global natural capital accounting. It demonstrates, using the example of Italy, an accounting framework which tracks national economies’ energy and resource throughput and translates them into biologically productive areas necessary to produce these flows. This calculation has been applied to over 52 countries. With this framework, based on the ecological footprint concept, human consumption can be compared with natural capital production at the global and national level, using existing data.
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