Methods to assess the impacts and indirect land use change caused by telecoupled agricultural supply chains: A review

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The increasing international trade of agricultural products has contributed to a larger diversity of food at low prices and represents an important economic value. However, such trade can also cause social, environmental and economic impacts beyond the limits of the countries directly involved in the exchange. Agricultural systems are telecoupled because the impacts caused by trade can generate important feedback loops, spillovers, rebound effects, time lags and non-linearities across multiple geographical and temporal scales that make these impacts more difficult to identify and mitigate. We make a comparative review of current impact assessment methods to analyze their suitability to assess the impacts of telecoupled agricultural supply chains. Given the large impacts caused by agricultural production on land systems, we focus on the capacity of methods to account for and spatially allocate direct and indirect land use change. Our analysis identifies trade-offs between methods with respect to the elements of the telecoupled system they address. Hybrid methods are a promising field to navigate these trade-offs. Knowledge gaps in assessing indirect land use change should be overcome in order to improve the accuracy of assessments.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1162
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Volume11
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Feb 2019

Fingerprint

Land use
Supply chains
land use change
land use
supply
Agricultural products
Economics
International trade
social impact
international trade
assessment method
economic impact
farming system
agricultural production
knowledge gap
nonlinearity
economic value
environmental impact
world trade
social effects

Keywords

  • Agricultural commodities
  • Food systems
  • Impact assessment
  • Indirect land use change
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Supply chain
  • Sustainability
  • Telecoupling

Cite this

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Methods to assess the impacts and indirect land use change caused by telecoupled agricultural supply chains : A review. / Paitan, Claudia Parra; Verburg, Peter H.

In: Sustainability (Switzerland), Vol. 11, No. 4, 1162, 22.02.2019, p. 1-24.

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

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AB - The increasing international trade of agricultural products has contributed to a larger diversity of food at low prices and represents an important economic value. However, such trade can also cause social, environmental and economic impacts beyond the limits of the countries directly involved in the exchange. Agricultural systems are telecoupled because the impacts caused by trade can generate important feedback loops, spillovers, rebound effects, time lags and non-linearities across multiple geographical and temporal scales that make these impacts more difficult to identify and mitigate. We make a comparative review of current impact assessment methods to analyze their suitability to assess the impacts of telecoupled agricultural supply chains. Given the large impacts caused by agricultural production on land systems, we focus on the capacity of methods to account for and spatially allocate direct and indirect land use change. Our analysis identifies trade-offs between methods with respect to the elements of the telecoupled system they address. Hybrid methods are a promising field to navigate these trade-offs. Knowledge gaps in assessing indirect land use change should be overcome in order to improve the accuracy of assessments.

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