EESS Spring Seminar Series, Thomas Hertel, Professor of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University, “Does Agricultural Intensification Spare Land? Revisiting History and Exploring the Future”, Abstract: There has been a resurgence of interest in the impacts of agricultural productivity on land use and the environment. At the center of this debate is the assertion that agricultural innovation is ‘land-sparing’. Yet numerous cases studies and global empirical studies have found little evidence of higher yields being accompanied by reduced area. We find that these studies overlook two crucial factors: the challenge of estimating the counterfactual scenario and a tendency to adopt a regional, rather than a global perspective. This paper introduces a general framework for analyzing the impacts of regional and global technological change on long run crop output, prices, land rents, land use, and associated GHG emissions. In so doing, it facilitates a reconciliation of the apparently conflicting views of the impacts of agricultural productivity growth on global land use and environmental quality. Our historical analysis, demonstrates that the Green Revolution in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East was land-, and emissions-sparing, compared to a counterfactual world without these innovations. In contrast, we find that a prospective African Green Revolution would only be land-sparing if it were sustained for more than two decades. Furthermore, it is likely to increase global GHG emissions from cropland expansion. We trace these divergent outcomes to differences in relative yields, emissions efficiencies, cropland supply responses and intensification possibilities between the innovating region and the rest of the world. Our framework is also appropriate for exploring the land use and emissions consequences of other crop sector drivers, such as climate change.
(Y2E2, Room 111 – Light refreshments at 11:50am
Willliam F. Laurance, James Cook University, Cairns, Queensland, Australia
The film, by the acclaimed photographer and filmmaker Pete McBride, takes viewers on a 1,500-mile journey down the Colorado River to its arid terminus in the Mexican desert, many miles short of its historical connection with the Gulf of California.
This screening is part of the yearlong film series “Ripple Effects” on the past, present, and future of western water, which is co-sponsored by Water in the West.
(James H. Clark Center Auditorium,318 Campus Drive, Stanford University)
guest speaker: Rick Piltz