This challenge explores the conditions under which societies can transition towards land futures that simultaneously meet demand for food and biomass production, biodiversity and ecosystem services preservation, and land-based climate-change mitigation. It discusses sequences of policies, at multiple scales, that may trigger such transition. Particular attention is paid to actions in the short-term.

 

Research line 3.1: Mapping conditions for robust and sustainable articulation of the multiple roles of land

In the first phase, we will identify the assumptions and beliefs (e.g. total calorific and protein demand, dietary habits, total demand for land-based climate-change mitigation, thresholds for ecosystem service collapse, assumptions about soil carbon dynamics, etc.) that are critical for the articulation between the four major roles of LUM (water resources, food and biomass production, biodiversity preservation and ecosystem service enhancement, and land-based climate-change mitigation) at the global and regional levels. We will then map the different regions of this space under which articulation seems plausible, and those under where it seems significantly not plausible. We will identify bifurcation points between these different futures, given biogeochemical, ecological and socio-technical inertia and variability, meeting the fourth frontier science priority. The critical assumptions and beliefs as well as the scenarios constructed in this RL will be derived from large-scale sensitivity analysis of the suite of models and integrated approaches brought to CLAND. An initial exercise will be undertaken at the onset of CLAND, and a second exercise will be undertaken in parallel with RL 1.2 in the second phase of the project.

 

Research line 3.2: Impact of land-based carbon dioxide removal on climate and the environment

Building on the outcomes of RL3.1, we will identify sequences of policies likely to steer land use towards the scenarios in which the three major roles of land are articulated. A broad range of policy instruments will be considered, including inter alia trade policies, agricultural policies, land policies (e.g. land pricing, land market regulation), labour policies, environmental policies (e.g. carbon taxation, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation-REDD scheme, biodiversity preservation), and R&D policies. The focus will be on the articulation between policy instruments across sectors and across regions — including implications for inter-regional distribution and trade. In complement, RL3.3 will focus on finer geographical scales. LUM models and economy-wide models will be combined to (i) embed analysis of policies relevant for land-use into broader macroeconomic context; and (ii) to provide analysis of potential impact of policies outside of the sector (e.g. carbon tax implications for fertiliser markets).

 

Research line 3.3: Consistent scenarios for the role of agriculture and managed forests in climate mitigation

Based on case studies in selected countries or regions, we will analyze the conditions under which transition towards the sustainable land-use patterns defined in RL3.1 can be triggered in the short timeframe required by the urgency of the environmental challenges we are facing, given an initial situation of economic and agricultural crises in many parts of the world, meeting the fifth frontier science priority. This analysis will draw on the experience of recent transitions in the land sector. Particular attention will be paid to the potential losers from the transitions, as well as to the structure of vested interests. We will also examine the conditions for financing the transition, as well as the availability of technology and of human capital, and the potential sources of lock-in effects, e.g. in regional scale supply chain infrastructures (silos size and location, processing plant size and location).