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225. Drivers of Land-use Emissions at the Global and Regional Levels

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Human activities such as uses of land have altered ecosystems, degraded biodiversity, disrupted carbon-nitrogen cycles, and increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions into the atmosphere. In January 2021, Nature published a paper which analyzed the drivers of GHG emission trends from land use by region and sector during the period from 1961 to 2017. In 2017, GHG emissions from land use accounted for about 25% of total anthropogenic GHG emissions, but the causes varied greatly from region to region. 

The results of this analysis provide insights on trends of global land-use emissions by region and sector. In terms of GHG emission trends across land-use change and management, the regions fall into three groups, namely, (1) regions where land-use change emissions are substantial and increasing (Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia); (2) regions where emissions from land-use changes are small but agricultural sector emissions are increasing (East Asia, South Asia, Middle East); and (3) regions where emissions due to changes in land use are often negative but emissions from the agricultural sector are substantial and flat (North America, Europe, Oceania). 

As the quality and quantity of food demand is expected to change due to population growth, urbanization, and economic growth, mainly in developing countries, reducing GHG emissions is difficult without changing agricultural production technology and practices according to the circumstances of each region and country. JIRCAS contributes to climate change countermeasures in developing countries and is developing technologies to maintain agricultural production while minimizing the spread of land use changes. Its strategic fields include sustainable agricultural consolidation technology to minimize land-use change through yield improvement in areas with low agricultural productivity such as Sub-Saharan Africa, mitigation of GHG emissions from paddy fields in Southeast Asia and other areas, and developing technologies for improving the efficiency of the nitrogen fertilizer utilization capacity inherent in living organisms such as Brachiaria grasses and sorghum


Chaopeng Hong et al. Global and regional drivers of land-use emissions in 1961–2017, Nature (2021). DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-03138-y

Contributor: IIYAMA Miyuki (Research Strategy Office)