Finite land resources and competition

Helmut Haberl, Cheikh Mbow, Xiangzheng Deng, Elena G. Irwin, Suzi Kerr, Tobias Kuemmerle, Ole Mertz, Patrick Meyfroidt, B. L. Turner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

28 Scopus citations


Rising demand for land-based products (food, feed, fiber, and bioenergy) as well as conservation of forests and carbon sinks create increasing competition for land. Land-use competition has many drivers, takes different forms, and can have many significant implications for ecosystems as well as societal well-being. This chapter discusses several emerging issues, including the effect of increased demand for n onprovisioning ecosystem services (b iodiversity conservation and c arbon sequestration), u rbanization, b ioenergy, and t eleconnections. Three major types of land-use competition are discerned: production versus production (e.g., food vs. fuel), production versus conservation (e.g., food production vs. conservation), and built-up environment versus production or conservation (e.g., food vs. urban). Sustainability impacts that result from land-use competition are analyzed and found to differ strongly between the different types of land-use competition. They are associated with important trade-offs and high uncertainty. Institutional aspects related to land-use competition are discussed using a conceptual model that distinguishes types of institutions (government, private, community) as well as their functions (objectives, distribution/e quity, effectiveness/efficiency). Analysis of long-term trajectories suggests that land-use competition is likely to intensify in the medium-to long-term future, mainly in the face of expected scarcities in resource supply (e.g., in terms of limited resources such as fossil fuels), mitigation and adaptation policies related to c limate change, as well as climate change impacts and demographic pressures. The chapter concludes with a discussion of major research gaps, and it outlines priority research topics, including the improved analysis of interdependencies of land and energy systems, " land architecture" (i.e., the significance of spatial configurations), and multiscale models to assess local-global connections and impacts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRethinking Global Land Use in an Urban Era
PublisherMIT Press
Number of pages35
ISBN (Electronic)9780262322126
ISBN (Print)9780262026901
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Finite land resources and competition'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this