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  • IGBP and Earth observation:
    a co-evolution

    The iconic images of Earth beamed back by the earliest spacecraft helped to galvanise interest in our planet’s environment. The subsequent evolution and development of satellites for Earth observation has been intricately linked with that of IGBP and other global-change research programmes, write Jack Kaye and Cat Downy .
Published: November 4, 2015

The contribution of future agricultural trends in the US Midwest to global climate change mitigation

Global Environmental Change (2014)

Thomson A M, Kyle G P, Zhang X, Bandaru V, West T O and Wise M A


Vol 24, pp 143–154


Land use change is a complex response to changing environmental and socioeconomic systems. Historical drivers of land use change include changes in the natural resource availability of a region, changes in economic conditions for production of certain products and changing policies. Most recently, introduction of policy incentives for biofuel production have influenced land use change in the US Midwest, leading to concerns that bioenergy production systems may compete with food production and land conservation. Here we explore how land use may be impacted by future climate mitigation measures by nesting a high resolution agricultural model (EPIC – Environmental Policy Indicator Climate) for the US Midwest within a global integrated assessment model (GCAM – Global Change Assessment Model). This approach is designed to provide greater spatial resolution and detailed agricultural practice information by focusing on the climate mitigation potential of agriculture and land use in a specific region, while retaining the global economic context necessary to understand the far ranging effects of climate mitigation targets. We find that until the simulated carbon prices are very high, the US Midwest has a comparative advantage in producing traditional food and feed crops over bioenergy crops. Overall, the model responds to multiple pressures by adopting a mix of future responses. We also find that the GCAM model is capable of simulations at multiple spatial scales and agricultural technology resolution, which provides the capability to examine regional response to global policy and economic conditions in the context of climate mitigation.

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