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Centre for International Environmental Studies

An integrated assessment of economic growth, population dynamics and the management of global land use (Sustainable Human Niche)

  •     Academic Associate: Bruno Lanz (Neuchâtel) - until 2017
  •     Timeline: September 2012 - December 2019
  •     Keywords: food production, population, land use, genetic resources
  •     Funding Organisation: MAVA Foundation


This project concerns itself with an analysis of the sustainability of the continued expansion of the human niche due to the continued conversion of lands to food production.  Global land use determines several outcomes jointly: aggregate food production; feasible human population; stability of the food production system; and availability of genetic resources. Together these outcomes determine the sustainability of the entire food production system, and consequently the capacity for the human niche to be supported.

This project examines various pathways for land use – and demonstrates the joint outcomes along each pathway that results (food production, population, stability, genetic resource availability).  In this way the issue of global land use is assessed within a framework very similar to that applied elsewhere by Stern (2006) in the analysis of climate change and growth pathways.  We also simulate how aggregate outcomes vary across different assumptions concerning discounting, hazard rates, and technological change.  In this way it is possible to examine the sustainability of various alternative global land use pathways – given the impact of land use on growth, systemic stability and resultant human welfare.


Working Papers and Publications: