Land-Use Change

Over the last centuries humans have transformed the world's surface significantly by building more and more cities, but mostly by extending agriculture. These changes obviously have an impact on our climate, but also on biodiversity.

Transformation of land for agricultural use

A large part of the earth’s land surface has been modified by humans to accommodate our growing population, with major factors being increasing urbanization, infrastructure development and agricultural expansion. This transformation has an effect for example on our climate, as less carbon is being stored in natural land, and on biodiversity, as less natural habitat is available. As the agricultural sector is one of the main drivers of land use change, sustainable intensification by increasing yields on existing farmland is key to decrease the pressure to convert natural into arable land.

1 Beck, T., Bos, U., Wittstock, B., Baitz, M., Fischer, M., & Sedlbauer, K. (2016). LANCA® Land Use Indicator Value Calculation in Life Cycle Assessment – Method Report. Echterdingen: Fraunhofer Verlag.

2 Milà i Canals, L., Romanyà, J., & Cowell, S. (2007). Method for assessing impacts on life support functions (LSF) related to the use of ‘fertile land’ in Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). Journal of Cleaner Production, 15(15), 1426-1440.

3 Vidal-Legaz, B., Sala, S., Antón, A., Maia De Souza, D., Nocita, M., Putman, B., & Teixeira, R. (2016). Land-use related environmental indicators for Life Cycle Assessment. JRC Technical report.