Land Use Change and Food Demand Impacts on Biodiversity in South America towards 2050

By: Magdalena Jensen  

The ability of society to feed a growing population in the future depends critically on its capacity to produce enough food to supply the growing food demand that is happening in the context of climate change and in an environment that has already surpassed some of its planetary boundaries. The main objective of this research is to analyse the possible impacts on the environment of a growing aggregated food demand and land use change in South America towards the middle of the XXI century. Among the main methods used in this study are a literature review, econometric demand method, and analysis of spatially explicit data sets comprising future land use change and biodiversity value based in different socioeconomic scenarios. Food demand is expected to increase in the region for all socioeconomic scenarios until 2050 driven by population growth and a higher income base. Aggregated food demand could increase between 50% and almost a doubling of the current demand towards the middle of this century. To produce enough food to supply the growing demand it is possible expand arable lands, which could come at a high biodiversity cost. Some of the areas characterized by a potential future conflict among agriculture and biodiversity are the located in the tropical Andes, south-western Brazil and in the southern part of the continent.

Land Use Change
Food Production and Sustainability
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Magdalena Jensen

PhD Candidate, Geography, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Chile