Global biomass demand is expected to roughly double between 2005 and 2050. Current studies suggest that agricultural intensification through optimally managed crops on today's cropland alone is insufficient to satisfy future demand. In practice though, improving crop growth management through better technology and knowledge almost inevitably goes along with (1) improving farm management with increased cropping intensity and more annual harvests where feasible and (2) an economically more efficient spatial allocation of crops which maximizes farmers' profit. By explicitly considering these two factors we show that, without expansion of cropland, today's global biomass potentials substantially exceed previous estimates and even 2050s' demands. We attribute 39% increase in estimated global production potentials to increasing cropping intensities and 30% to the spatial reallocation of crops to their profit-maximizing locations. The additional potentials would make cropland expansion redundant. Their geographic distribution points at possible hotspots for future intensification.

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s)
Wolfram Mauser Gernot Klepper Florian Zabel Ruth Delzeit Tobias Hank Birgitta Putzenlechner1 Alvaro Calzadilla

Resource information

Date of publication
November 2015
Resource Language
ISBN / Resource ID
10.1038/ncomms9946
Pages
11
License of the resource
Copyright details
2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

Geographical Focus