A grand challenge facing society in the coming decades is to feed the growing human population in a sustainable and healthy manner. This problem is made more complex by an increasingly globalised food system and its interactions with a changing climate. Agri-food system actors - including policy makers, corporations, farmers, and consumers - must meet this challenge while considering potentially conflicting priorities, such as environmental sustainability (e.g., minimising disturbance to ecosystems via greenhouse gas emissions and the use of water, land, fertilisers and other inputs), economic viability (e.g., revenues for food producers and guaranteed access for consumers), nutritional balance and quality (e.g., addressing overconsumption and undernourishment), and resilience to climate change.
This growing complexity of agri-food systems, which can involve global supply chains and difficult environmental and societal tradeoffs, needs to be better understood.
The type of product (e.g. plant or meat based, fresh or processed), as well as the location and method of production, can play an important role in improving the nutritional quality and environmental sustainability of global food production, to enable healthy and sustainable diets. Quantifying and assessing these multiple outcomes while accounting for the linkages, interconnections, and scales of local and global supply chains will be essential for informing decisions aimed at developing sustainable and resilient agri-food systems.
This session welcomes submissions that quantify and assess a range of outcomes from agri-food systems across multiple spatial and temporal scales, and the trade-offs or synergies between them. The session will include studies providing improved methods for quantifying multiple environmental, economic or social dimensions, studies that incorporate the role of food trade into solution-development, and studies that seek to achieve multiple sustainability goals together.

Co-organized by ERE7/HS12/SSS12
Convener: Carole Dalin | Co-conveners: Kyle Frankel Davis, Matti Kummu, Landon Marston, Marta Tuninetti
| Attendance Thu, 07 May, 10:45–12:30 (CEST)

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Chat time: Thursday, 7 May 2020, 10:45–12:30

Chairperson: Carole Dalin; Marta Tuninetti; Matti Kummu
D2363 |
Maria Cristina Rulli, Livia Ricciardi, Davide Danilo Chiarelli, and Paolo D'Odorico

Feeding humanity while preserving environmental sustainability is one of the major challenges of the next few decades. Many of the global changes for planetary sustainability are due to the food system that is increasing production at the expense of the environment. However, nutrition related diseases caused by low quality diets are on the rise. The 2018 FAO report on  State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World shows that the number of malnourished people keeps increasing.  Undernourished people account for 821 million, including 151 million children under five affected by stunting, while the lives of over 50 million children in the world continue to be threatened by wasting. On the other hand, over 38 million children under five years of age are overweight, 672 million adults are obese, while diabetes, high blood pressure and anaemia are increasing.

Iron Deficiency Anaemia (IDA) is a major problem in India, especially among women. Around 53.1% of Indian women are affected by IDA, which is indeed becoming a major public health issue.

Although India was the first country to launch the National Nutritional Anemia Prevention Program in 1970, IDA remains widespread. There are many reasons for the emergence of a wide range of IDA in India, namely, insufficient iron intake, poor iron absorption, increased iron demand during repeated pregnancy and lactation, insufficient iron reserve at birth, umbilical cord clamping time, and food supplementation.

Punjab is the Indian state facing the most severe condition regarding the prevalence of anaemia, despite this state being one of the main food producers of India. Taking Punjab as a case study we analysed to what extent it is possible to feed the Punjab population with an healthy (adequate in term of micronutrient) and sustainable diet. To this end, using data from National Family Health Survey-4 (NFHS-4) and projected population surveys, an estimation of iron requirement is calculated. Natural resources (i.e. land, water) used for current diet and the additional resources needed to sustainably feed the local population with a reference healthy planetary diet are evaluated.

How to cite: Rulli, M. C., Ricciardi, L., Chiarelli, D. D., and D'Odorico, P.: The Food-Environment-Health Nexus of nutrition security in India, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-19693, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-19693, 2020.

D2364 |
Dario Caro and Fabio Sporchia

Global rice production and trade have strongly increased in recent years. Trade of rice corresponds to a high share of virtual resources shipped from a country to another one. While most of the studies have focused on single impacts embodied in international trade of agricultural products, this study reveals a complete overview of the three most relevant resources/impacts embodied in international rice trade such as water, land and CH4 emissions. Our analysis includes more than 160 countries for the period 2000-2016 by using country-specific impact factors. This trilateral analysis allows the assessment of tradeoffs between different impact categories and relative discussion about international trade policies. Indeed, while the outcome of the impacts embodied in trade is mostly due to the volume of rice traded, the three country-specific impact factors such as water demand, yield and emission factor also determinate the results thus revealing tradeoffs among the three impacts generated. Existing trade flows are mainly leaded by economic aspects rather than focusing on environmental performances. We conclude that international policies should lead developing countries, which are the largest exporters of rice and have a lower efficiency production, to invest in the improvement of their environmental performances thus maintaining their international market competitiveness.  

How to cite: Caro, D. and Sporchia, F.: Drivers of multi environmental impacts embodied in international rice trade, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-19, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-19, 2020.

D2365 |
Giacomo Falchetta, Nicolò Golinucci, and Michel Noussan

In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) most people live on plant-dominated diets, with significantly lower levels of per-capita meat consumption than in any other region. Yet, economic development has nearly everywhere spurred a shift to dietary regimes with a greater consumption of meat, albeit with regional heterogeneity for meat-type and magnitude. A growing regional economy, changing cultural attitudes, and a steeply increasing population could thus push the regional demand upward in the coming decades, with significant depletion of regional and global natural resources and environmental repercussions. We study the historical association of the four main meat types with demand drivers in recently developed countries via seemingly unrelated regression (SUR) equation systems. Using the calibrated coefficients, trajectories of meat consumption in SSA to 2050 are projected relying on the SSP scenarios over GDP and population growth. Then, using a Leontiefian environmentally extended input-output (EEIO) framework exploiting the EXIOBASE3 database, we estimate the related energy, land, and water requirements, and the implied greenhouse gas (CO2, CH4, N2O) emissions. We calculate that if production to meet those consumption levels takes place in the continent – compared to the current situation – global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions would grow by 230 Mt CO2e (4.4% of today’s global agriculture-related emissions), the land required for cropping and grazing would require additional 4.2 · 106 km2 (more than half of the total arable land in SSA), total blue water consumption would rise by 10,300 Mm3 (0.89% of the global total), and additional 1.2 EJ of energy (6% of today’s total primary energy demand in the region) would be required. Alternative scenarios where SSA is a net importer of final meat products are reported for comparison. The local policy and attitudes towards farming practices and dietary choices will have significant impact on both the regional environment and global GHG emissions.

How to cite: Falchetta, G., Golinucci, N., and Noussan, M.: Representative meat consumption pathways for sub-Saharan Africa and their local and global energy and environmental implications, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-6934, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-6934, 2020.

D2366 |
| Highlight
Andrea Monica Ortiz

Banana is a globally important fruit, and the Philippines is one of the world’s largest producers of banana both for domestic consumption and for export. While the popular fruit provides an important source of nutrition and economic revenue, banana production has many negative impacts on the environment. This is due to the input-intensive nature of banana production, as well as the habitat loss and expansion associated with growing trade demands for Philippine bananas, primarily from China, Japan and South Korea. The increased homogeneity of the landscape for banana cultivation also has impacts on threatened Philippine species.


An additional factor of climate risk is added to the multiple interactions between banana production and the environment: the Philippines is vulnerable to climate change and climate hazards. Approximately 20 tropical cyclones enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility every year and are a significant cause of losses and damages to agriculture, particularly banana production which is sensitive to strong winds. Thus, there is a complex set of interactions between banana production, its negative impacts on the environment, the increasing exposure of plantations to climate hazards, and the role of banana in the local diet and economy.


Data on agriculture, trade and tropical cyclones are used to show that a number of threatened Philippine species occur within agricultural pressure zones from banana production, some of which overlap with protected areas. An analysis of agricultural and economic data shows that damages from tropical cyclones are increasing, but tropical cyclones themselves are not increasing in intensity nor frequency. This means that agricultural expansion has impacts both on biodiversity and on the sustainability of banana production itself. Several recommendations to adapt growing systems to be both resilient and more supportive of biodiversity are offered.

How to cite: Ortiz, A. M.: The multiple interactions of banana production, biodiversity, trade and climate in the Philippines, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-1526, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-1526, 2020.

D2367 |
Robert Burtscher, Taher Kahil, Mikhail Smilovic, Diana Luna, Jenan Irshaid, Thomas Falk, Caroline Hambloch, Sylvia Tramberend, Elizabeth Tellez Leon, Paul Yillia, Junko Mochizuki, Paul Kariuki, Michael Hauser, and Yoshihide Wada

Food security has long been a challenge for East Africa region and is becoming a pressing issue for the coming decades because food demand is expected to increase considerably following rapid population and income growth. Agricultural production in the region is thus required to intensify, in a sustainable way, to keep up with food demand. However, many challenges face the sustainable intensification of the agricultural production including low productivity, inadequate management, small scale operations, and large climate variability. Several pilot initiatives, that involves a bundle of land and water management practices, have been introduced in the region to tackle such challenges. However, their large-scale implementation remains limited. In the framework of a research project which is jointly implemented by the International Institute for Applied System Analysis (IIASA), the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) and the International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), we analyse up scaling opportunities for water and land management practices for the sustainable and resilient intensification of rice and fodder production systems in the extended Lake Victoria Basin in East Africa. The expected outcome of this project is to provide an improved understanding of up scaling of such practices through model simulations and integrated analysis of political economy aspects, governance and social and gender dimensions.

This paper presents an integrated upscaling modeling framework that combines biophysical suitability analysis and economic optimization. Several production system options (i.e., management practices) for rice intensification are examined at high-spatial resolution (0.5°x0.5°) in the extended Lake Victoria basin. The suitability analysis identifies suitable area for the production system options based on a combination of various biophysical factors such as climate, hydrology, vegetation and soil properties using the Global Agroecological Zones (GAEZ) model and the Community Water Model (CWaTM). The economic optimization identifies the optimal combination of those production systems that maximizes their overall contribution to agricultural economic benefits having satisfied various technical and resource constraints including commodity balance, land availability and suitability, water availability, labor availability and capital constraints. A set of socioeconomic (e.g., impact of population and income growth on food demand and agricultural productivity) and climate change (e.g., impact on water resources availability) scenarios based on combinations of the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs), Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs), and co-developed bottom-up policy scenarios, through stakeholders’ engagement with the Basin Commission (LVBC), have been utilized to simulate the modeling framework. Results of this study show the existence of significant opportunities for the sustainable intensification of rice production in East Africa. Moreover, the study identifies the key biophysical and economic factors that could enable the upscaling of sustainable land and water management practices for rice production in the region. Overall, this study demonstrates the capacity of the proposed upscaling modeling framework as a system approach to address the linkages between the intensification of agricultural production and the sustainable use of natural resources.

How to cite: Burtscher, R., Kahil, T., Smilovic, M., Luna, D., Irshaid, J., Falk, T., Hambloch, C., Tramberend, S., Tellez Leon, E., Yillia, P., Mochizuki, J., Kariuki, P., Hauser, M., and Wada, Y.: Scaling-up sustainable intensification practices for rice production in East Africa, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-21492, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-21492, 2020.

D2368 |
Benedetta Falsetti, Elena Vallino, Luca Ridolfi, and Francesco Laio

Most human activities depend on water. Agriculture alone consumes 70% of all freshwater withdrawals worldwide.  In cases when such withdrawal overcome sustainability levels, water scarcity represents a growing threat to food security. In this framework, there has been an enduring debate on the opportunity of assigning an economic value to water. Some studies argue that water resources would be more efficiently allocated if they had a price that reflects their scarcity and that a pricing policy would also provide incentives for more sustainable consumption. Building on these considerations, in this work we investigate whether the water consumption in agricultural production is reflected in crop prices. 

In this research, we focus specifically on the production of agricultural primary goods to understand whether water consumption is taken into consideration in the prices associated with these products on the global market. We consider the water component also in terms of water availability per capita at the country level (Falkenmark Water Stress Indicator). Aware of the fact that water and land are usually regarded as a single entity, we analyze if the water, isolated from this relation, still has an impact.

We select twelve representative crops analyzing their farm gate prices from 1991 to 2016, collecting data regarding 162 countries in total. We identify two different behaviors: staple crops (e.g. wheat, maize, soybeans, and potatoes) tend to incorporate in their prices the amount of water employed during the cultivation process. Differently, cash crops (e.g. coffee, cocoa beans, tea, vanilla), which are not crucial in human diets and mainly produced for exportation purposes, show a weaker relationship between water footprint and prices on the global market. These variations may be ascribable to specific market dynamics related to the two product groups. While there could be different elements influencing the behavior of these two macro-categories of crops, it is important to understand how water is related to crop prices to purse more efficient practices in water allocation and governance management, improving environmental sustainability in this field.

How to cite: Falsetti, B., Vallino, E., Ridolfi, L., and Laio, F.: Agricultural water consumption and crop prices, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-9627, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-9627, 2020.

D2369 |
Davy Vanham

The water footprint concept has been recognized as being highly valuable for raising awareness of the large quantity of water resources required to produce the food we consume. We present, for three major European countries (the United Kingdom, France and Germany), a geographically detailed nationwide food-consumption-related water footprint, taking into account socio-economic factors of food consumption, for both existing and recommended diets (healthy diet with meat, healthy pescetarian diet and healthy vegetarian diet). Using socio-economic data, national food surveys and international food consumption and water footprint databases, we were able to refine national water footprint data to the smallest possible administrative boundaries within a country (reference period 2007–2011). We found geographical differences in water footprint values for existing diets as well as for the reduction in water footprints associated with a change to the recommended healthy diets. For all 43,786 analysed geographical entities, the water footprint decreases for a healthy diet containing meat (range 11–35%). Larger reductions are observed for the healthy pescetarian (range 33–55%) and healthy vegetarian (range 35–55%) diets. In other words, shifting to a healthy diet is not only good for human health, but also substantially reduces consumption of water resources, consistently for all geographical entities throughout the three countries. Our full results are available as a supplementary dataset. These data can be used at different governance levels in order to inform policies targeted to specific geographical entities.

This presentation is based on a recent paper published in Nature Sustainability

How to cite: Vanham, D.: The water footprint of different diets within European sub-national geographical entities, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-9383, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-9383, 2020.

D2370 |
Stefania Tamea, Marta Tuninetti, and Matteo Rolle

Multidisciplinary analyses of the water-food nexus are often based on the water footprint indicator. The water footprint measures the volume of water necessary to produce a good, and its unit counterpart (water footprint per unit weight of good) can be interpreted as an indicator of efficiency in the use of water resources. Crop water footprint refers to the unit water footprint of crops and it is defined as the volume of water evapotranspired during crop growth divided by the agricultural yield.

This contribution focuses on the spatial variability (at global scale) and temporal evolution (in the period 1961-2004) of the crop water footprint of four crops: wheat, rice, maize and soybean. In particular, we investigate the role of hydro-climatic and anthropic factors in determining the spatial and temporal variability. First, a sensitivity analysis is used to quantify the influence of precipitation, reference evapotranspiration, and agricultural yield  on crop water footprint, separating between green water (precipitation) and blue water (irrigation). Second, an analysis of agricultural yield is presented that separates the effects of hydro-climatic and anthropic determinants on yield, with a special focus on temporal trends.

Results highlight the important role played by hydro-climatic variables in the separation of green and blue water, despite the limited sensitivity of total water footprint to such variables. In the temporal analysis, hydro-climatic variables are found to contribute to the inter-annual fluctuations of yield (and thus of crop water footprint) but the temporal trends are dominated by anthropic determinants. In conclusion, both hydro-climatic and anthropic variables have a role in spatio-temporal variability of crop water footprint, although their influence is different if considering different aspects of such variability.

How to cite: Tamea, S., Tuninetti, M., and Rolle, M.: Hydro-climatic and anthropic determinants of spatio-temporal variability of crop water footprint, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-19724, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-19724, 2020.

D2371 |
Wenfeng Liu, Hong Yang, Matti Kummu, Junguo Liu, and Philippe Ciais

Global food trade entails virtual flows of agricultural resources and pollution across countries. Here we performed a global-scale assessment of impacts of international food trade on blue water use, total water use, and nitrogen (N) inputs and on N losses in maize, rice, and wheat production. We simulated baseline conditions for the year 2000 and explored the impacts of an agricultural intensification scenario, in which low-input countries increase N and irrigation inputs to a greater extent than high-input countries. We combined a crop model with the Global Trade Analysis Project model. Results show that food exports generally occurred from regions with lower water and N use intensities, defined here as water and N uses in relation to crop yields, to regions with higher resources use intensities. Globally, food trade thus conserved a large amount of water resources and N applications, and also substantially reduced N losses. The trade-related conservation in blue water use reached 85 km3 y−1, accounting for more than half of total blue water use for producing the three crops. Food exported from the USA contributed the largest proportion of global water and N conservation as well as N loss reduction, but also led to substantial export-associated N losses in the country itself. Under the intensification scenario, the converging water and N use intensities across countries result in a more balanced world; crop trade will generally decrease, and global water resources conservation and N pollution reduction associated with the trade will reduce accordingly. The study provides useful information to understand the implications of agricultural intensification for international crop trade, crop water use and N pollution patterns in the world.

How to cite: Liu, W., Yang, H., Kummu, M., Liu, J., and Ciais, P.: Water resources conservation and nitrogen pollution reduction under global food trade and agricultural intensification, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-10402, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-10402, 2020.

D2372 |
Timothy Foster, Roshan Adhikari, Subash Adhikari, Anton Urfels, and Timothy Krupnik

In many parts of South Asia, electricity for groundwater pumping has been directly or indirectly subsidised by governments to support intensification of agriculture. In contrast, farmers in large portions of the Eastern Indo-Gangetic Plains (EIGP) remain largely dependent on unsubsidised diesel or petrol power for irrigation pumping. Combined with a lack of comprehensive aquifer mapping, high energy costs of pumping limit the ability of farmers to utilise available groundwater resources. This increases exposure to farm production risks, in particular drought and precipitation variability.

To date, research to address these challenges has largely focused on efforts to enhance rural electrification or introduce renewable energy-based pumping systems that remain out of reach of many poor smallholders. However, there has been comparatively little focus on understanding opportunities to improve the cost-effectiveness and performance of the thousands of existing diesel-pump irrigation systems already in use in the EIGP. Here, we present findings from a recent survey of over 432 farmer households in the mid-western Terai region of Nepal – an important area of diesel-pump irrigation in the EIGP. Our survey provides information about key socio-economic, technological and behavioral aspects of diesel pump irrigation systems currently in operation, along with quantitative evidence about their impacts on agricultural productivity and profitability.

Survey results indicate that groundwater irrigation costs vary significantly between individual farmers. Farmers faced with higher costs of groundwater access irrigate their crops less frequently, which in turn results in lower crop yields and reduced overall farm profitability. Our data indicate that pumpset fuel efficiency may be a key driver of variability in irrigation costs, with large horsepower (>5 HP) Indian-made pumpsets appearing to have significantly higher fuel consumption rates (1.10 litre/hour and $18,000) and investments costs than alternative smaller horsepower (<5 HP) Chinese-made pumpsets (0.76 litre/hr and $30,000). Despite this, the majority of farmers continue to favour Indian pumpsets due to their higher reliability and well-established supply chains. Variability in access costs is also related to differences in capacity of farmers to invest in their own pumping systems. Pumpset rental rates in the region increase irrigation costs by a factor of 3-4 relative to the cost of fuel alone. Furthermore, rental rates typically are structured on a per-hourly basis, further exacerbating access costs for farmers with low yielding wells or whose irrigation management practices are less efficient.

Our findings highlight that opportunities exist to reduce costs of groundwater use in existing diesel irrigation systems through improved access to more energy efficient pumping systems. This would have positive near-term impacts on agricultural productivity and rural livelihoods, in particular helping farmers to more effectively buffer crops against monsoonal variability. Such near-term improvements in diesel pump irrigation systems would also play an important role in supporting agriculture in the EIGP to transition to more sustainable and clean sources of energy for irrigation pumping. However, efforts to enhance irrigation access must also occur alongside improvements to aquifer monitoring and governance of extraction, in order to minimise risks of future depletion such as observed in other parts of the IGP.

How to cite: Foster, T., Adhikari, R., Adhikari, S., Urfels, A., and Krupnik, T.: Options for reducing costs of diesel pump irrigation systems in the Eastern Indo-Gangetic Plains, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-10200, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-10200, 2020.

D2373 |
Hongrong Huang, La Zhuo, and Pute Wu

Agricultural infrastructure plays important roles in boosting food production and trade system in developing countries, while as being a ‘grey solutions’, generates increasingly risks on the environmental sustainability. There is little information on impacts of agricultural infrastructure developments on water consumption and flows, (i.e. water footprint and virtual water flows) related to crop production, consumption and trade especially in developing countries with high water risk. Here we, taking mainland China over 2000-2017 as the study case, identified and evaluated the strengths and spatial heterogeneities in main socio-economic driving factors of provincial water footprints and inter-provincial virtual water flows related to three staple crops (rice, wheat and maize). For the first time, we consider irrigation (II), electricity (EI) and road infrastructures (RI) in the driving factor analysis through the extended STIRPAT (stochastic impacts by regression on population, affluence and technology) model. Results show that the II, EI and RI in China were expanded by 33.8 times, 4.5 times and 2.4 times, respectively by year 2017 compared to 2000. Although the II was the most critical driver to effectively reduce the per unit water footprint, especially the blue water footprint in crop production (i.e., increasing water efficiency), the developments of II led to the bigger total water consumption. Such phenomenon was observed in Jing-Jin region, North Coast and Northwest China with water resource shortage. The EI and RI had increasing effects on provincial virtual water export, and the corresponding driving strengths varied across spaces. Obviously, the visible effects from the agricultural infrastructures on regional water consumption, water productivity and virtual water patterns cannot be neglected. 

How to cite: Huang, H., Zhuo, L., and Wu, P.: Agricultural infrastructure: the forgotten key driving force on crop-related water footprints and virtual water flows in developing countries: a case for China, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-3366, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-3366, 2020.

D2374 |
Uwe A. Schneider and Jan Steinhauser

Successful implementation of the Paris climate agreement and the 2015 UN sustainability goals requires large-scale transformations in all relevant areas, with land-use and land-management among the most critical ones. On a global scale, a variety of transformation pathways has been discussed. However, these pathways often assume a uniform global transformation from which each country’s transformation pathway follows in a top-down manner. This approach faces implementation difficulties due to inconsistencies between resulting country pathways and the respective country’s political reality. Hence, a bottom-up approach may create less ambitious, but more realistic transformation pathways, both on a regional and global scale.
As part of an international effort to create national and global transformation pathways in line with the Paris climate agreement and the 2015 UN sustainability goals, this project aims to model impacts from current and projected German environmental policies and societal developments and to embed them into a broader international context. We analyze current data, trends and developmental goals for key aspects of German society and policies affecting environmental factors, utilizing the FABLE calculator.
By implementing these national results as well as data from analogous projects focusing on other countries into a global framework, we can compare the global impacts of projected national transformation pathways as well as needs for adjustment in regards to climate and sustainability goals. This approach will allow for partial corrections in each national model, more in line with each country’s respective economic and political circumstances.

How to cite: Schneider, U. A. and Steinhauser, J.: Analyzing German transformation pathways‘ alignment with national and global climate and sustainability goals in the FABLE framework, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-19504, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-19504, 2020.

D2375 |
Hsuan-Chi Tsai and Shu-Chuan Hsu

The Hengchun Peninsula is located in Pingtung County, the southernmost part of Taiwan. Having a unique geographical location and climate factors, it results in some special industry patterns and cultural activities, such as onion, sisal agave and Gang-Kou tea. With climate conditions limiting the cultivated activities and the choice of crops, rice, yam and peanuts were the main crops grown since the Japanese era until the 2000s. However, in the last 20 years, pitaya has been planted rapidly in the Hengchun Peninsula. Since 2000, the planted area of pitaya grew to 152.9 ha. As the production and planted area accounts for over 35% of Pingtung County, pitaya gradually becomes an important crop. So the main purpose of this article is to find out why pitaya becomes an important crop in this area. This consists of the factors behind farmers changing their cropping patterns to growing pitaya, the factors resulting in the spread of pitaya in the Hengchun Peninsula, and the marketing channels used by farmers to sell their crops. In addition to reviewing articles, a field study was conducted with a sample of 30 farmers, keymen and middlemen. Statistical data was sorted and compiled, and semi-structured interviews were conducted to help to clarify what factors drive the farmers involved in pitaya cultivation.

It was found that pitaya cultivation in the Hengchun Peninsula originated from Bao-li village before spreading to other areas. The area around Bao-li village was also the most concentrated area of pitaya orchards, while the distribution in other areas was relatively scattered. Statistical data also showed a consistent phenomenon in the Hengchun Peninsula where specific cash crops rapidly develop and then gradually disappear after a short period of time. This occurs in sisal agave, sorghum, watermelons and other crops, which are drought and wind resistant crops. This phenomenon reflects that the selection of crops in this area is less, because of the fall and winter’s prevailing wind—the downslope winds (also called luo-shan wind) —and the land is not fertile. Thus, once a crop with an economic value higher than previous crops appears, farmers will flock to plant that kind of crop. Farmers will also change their crops due to policy changes or encouragement of local farmers’ associations. The results show that farmers thought that pitaya has a lot of advantages in contrast to other crops, such as high profits, ability to tolerate the harsh environment and has a long production period. So many farmers who grew onions, pangola grass, rice and other crops have also used some of their land to grow pitaya. The results about marketing revealed that the channels for distribution comprise of 50% of the farmers directly selling to customers, while the rest sell to local associations or commission men. In addition, it can also be found that farmers with larger planting areas generally have relatively stable and fixed sales channels when compared with smallholders, and farmers with stable sales channels tend to expand their pitaya cultivation area.

How to cite: Tsai, H.-C. and Hsu, S.-C.: The Spatial Diffusion and Management of Pitaya Cultivation in the Hengchun Peninsula, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-3105, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-3105, 2020.

D2376 |
Chia-Hui Hsu, Angela Huang, and Fi-John Chang

Maintaining stable crop production is the main benefit of greenhouses, which, however, would consume additional resources to control the indoor environment, as compared to open field cultivation. In consideration of Water-Food-Energy Nexus (WFE Nexus) management, it’s important to build an integrated methodology to estimate and optimize the crop production and resources consumption of greenhouses. Since the crop production of greenhouses is predictable if the indoor environment is well controlled, the main thing we should consider is how to reduce the water and energy consumption as much as possible during the environmental control process for greenhouses. For this purpose, we first build a machine learning-based model to predict indoor environment, including air temperature, relative humidity (RH), and soil water content, for a greenhouse that grows crops. Then according to the suitability criteria of the crop, the predicted values are utilized for environmental control if the values violate the criteria. Under such circumstance, an estimation model is established to determine which type and level of control mechanisms upon water and energy should be activated for meeting the suitability criteria to maintain stable crop production. The study area is a cherry tomato greenhouse located at the farm in Changhua County, Taiwan, where a total of 44,310 datasets were recorded by Internet of Things (IoT) from 2018 to 2019 at a 10-minute temporal resolution. This study also evaluates the efficiency of greenhouses under different scenarios of climatic conditions. The results are expected to contribute to the automatic greenhouse environmental control for stimulating the synergies of the WEF Nexus management toward sustainable development.

Keywords: Water-Food-Energy Nexus (WFE Nexus); Greenhouse; Machine learning; Internet of Things (IoT)

How to cite: Hsu, C.-H., Huang, A., and Chang, F.-J.: Predict indoor environment of greenhouses for automatic greenhouse environmental control using machine learning techniques, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-7373, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-7373, 2020.

D2377 |
Sophia Carodenuto

The winner of the International Statistic of the Decade is 8.4 million – the number of football pitches deforested from 2000 to 2019 in the Amazon rainforest. The Royal Statistical Society selected this statistic to give a powerful visual to one of the decade’s worst examples of environmental degradation. Global food supply chains are the major driver behind this deforestation. As globalization has dispersed the production of goods around the world, global supply chains increasingly displace the environmental and social impacts of consumption in rich and emerging economies to distant locations. Grown predominantly in (sub)tropical ecosystems and consumed in industrialized economies, cocoa/chocolate represents the inherent transnational challenges of many of today’s highly prized foods. Chocolate’s distinct geographies of production and consumption result in forest loss and persistent poverty in places far from the immediate purview of consumers. Despite growing public awareness and media attention, most consumers of conventional cocoa/chocolate products are unable to know the precise origins of their chocolate due to its complex supply chain involving multiple intermediaries. Outside of niche chocolate products that carry significantly higher price tags, the average chocolate consumer buying a Mars bar or Reeses peanut butter cup remains in the dark about the social and environmental impacts of their purchases. In 2017, the global cocoa/chocolate industry responded by committing themselves to “zero deforestation cocoa,” whereby they aim for full supply chain traceability to ultimately end deforestation and restore forest areas in cocoa origins.

The problem that this research aims to address is that despite their continued proliferation, corporate zero deforestation supply chain initiatives have thus far had only modest success in reaching their stated aims (Lambin et al. 2018). As company pledges grow in number and magnitude, deforestation continues in many commodity production areas, especially in tropical forest areas (Curtis et al. 2018). Through a systematic review of company pledges. this research brings more understanding to what precisely the global cocoa industry is committing to, and how these pledged changes are meant to be rolled out in practice. This knowledge will improve accountability by bringing clarity to questions surrounding who is meant to do what and how along the bumpy road to zero deforestation cocoa. Further, this research will shed light on the lesser known actors in the cocoa supply chain: the intermediary cocoa traders often operating informally in cocoa origins though a case study in Côte d’Ivoire- the world’s number one cocoa exporter. As technological advancements in commodity traceability and forest monitoring reduce the perceived distance between cocoa producers and their downstream buyers, supply chain actors are forging new partnerships to reduce the climate footprint of chocolate. This research accompanies one of these innovative partnerships between cocoa farming and chocolate eating communities.


Curtis et al. (2018). Classifying drivers of global forest loss. Science, 361(6407), 1108-1111.

Lambin, et al. (2018). The role of supply‐chain initiatives in reducing deforestation. Nature Climate Change, 1. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558‐017‐0061‐1, 109–116.


How to cite: Carodenuto, S.: Addressing Deforestation in Global Supply Chains: The Industry Approach , EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-12305, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-12305, 2020.

D2378 |
Kashimana Amanda Ivo

Two hundred million persons at an annual population growth rate of 2.5% in addition to uncertainty in climate and societal changes challenges development goals particularly food security in Nigeria. Food security challenges primarily originate from conflicts in agricultural and forestry land systems causing changes in the systems. Agricultural and forestry land systems constitute 77.7% and 7.7% of land area in Nigeria. However, pressured by an increasing population and a changing climate, society and even seemingly divergent policy objectives, these systems have failed to ensure food security. The challenge for Nigeria is to simultaneously maintain a 5% annual increment in food production and conserve 10% of its land area as forest. With agriculture already occupying 77.7% of the total land area, what will a 5% annual increment in food production and a 10% conservation of land area mean for both agriculture and forestry systems? Would these targets require an expansion or intensification or an integration of both systems? This paper provides insights into opportunities and trade-off for optimal land use systems in Nigeria by answering questions such as how can its land use be optimized for biodiversity conservation and agricultural production targets? Amidst the aforementioned targets what plausible governance, management technologies and policy adjustments can aid food security in Nigeria and at what cost?

How to cite: Ivo, K. A.: Impacts of Land Use Change on Food Security in Nigeria: An integration of stakeholder participation in bioeconomic modelling, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-1206, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-1206, 2020.

D2379 |
Florian Dinger and Ulrich Platt

How to feed a growing global population in a secure and sustainable way? The conventional, biogenic agriculture has yet failed to provide a reliable concept which circumvents its severe environmental externalities — such as the massive use of land area, water for irrigation, fertiliser, pesticides, herbicides, and fossil fuel. In contrast, the artificial synthesis of carbohydrates from atmospheric carbon dioxide, water, and renewable energy would allow not only for a highly reliable production without those externalities, but would also allow to increase the agricultural capacities of our planet by several orders of magnitude. All required technology is either commercially available or at least developed on a lab-scale. No directed research has, however, yet been conducted towards an industry-scale carbohydrate synthesis because the biogenic carbohydrate production was economically more competitive. Taking the environmental and socioeconomic externalities of the conventional sugar production into account, this economical narrative has to be questioned. We estimate the production costs of artificial sugar at ~1 €/kg. While the today’s spot market price for conventional sugar is about ~0.3 €/kg, we estimate its total costs (including external costs) at >0.9 €/kg in humid regions and >2 €/kg in semi-arid regions. Accordingly, artificial sugar appears already today to be the less expensive way of production. The artificial sugar production allows in principle also for a subsequent synthesis of other carbohydrates such as starch as well as of fats. These synthetic products could be used as a feedstock to microorganisms, fungi, insects, or livestock in order to enhance also the sustainability of the biogenic production of, e.g., proteins.

How to cite: Dinger, F. and Platt, U.: Towards an artificial carbohydrates supply on Earth, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-2989, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-2989, 2020.

D2380 |
Evelyne Stoll, Christian Schader, Torsten Bohn, Rachel Reckinger, Laura Leimbrock, Gilles Altmann, and Stéphanie Zimmer

In Luxembourg, the agricultural sector was responsible for 711.7 Gg CO2-equivalents in 2016, which corresponds to 6.95 % of the total country greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Over 50 % of the farms are specialist grazing livestock farms. The beef and cattle milk production account globally together for over 60 % of the sector’s global emissions. Thus, the climate impact of the whole agricultural sector in Luxembourg can be significantly lowered by reducing the GHG emissions of the specialist grazing livestock sector. However, beyond farm type, the GHG emissions of a farm are also influenced by other factors, such as management systems and farming practices. To enable a transition towards a more climate-positive agriculture, insights into the sustainability performance in terms of climate change are needed.

The aim of this study is to determine the current sustainability performance of the Luxembourgish specialist grazing livestock sector in terms of climate change. The climate impact of the different specialist grazing livestock farm types (OTE (orientation technico-économique) 45 - Specialist dairying; OTE 46 - Specialist cattle - rearing and fattening and OTE 47 - Cattle - dairying, rearing and fattening combined) and of different management systems (conventional or organic) was assessed at farm-level. Furthermore, the relationship between the sustainability performance in terms of climate change and other areas of sustainability is being studied. Farming practices of 60 farms typical for Luxembourg in regard to their share of arable land and permanent grassland (OTE 45: 3 farms; OTE 46: 15; OTE 45: 11; Conventional: 44; Organic: 16) and their respective sustainability implications were assessed in 2019 according to the FAO SAFA Guidelines (Guidelines for the Sustainability Assessment of Food and Agriculture Systems, 2014) using the Sustainability Monitoring and Assessment RouTine (SMART)-Farm Tool (v5.0). Organic farms were highly overrepresented, with 26.7 % in the sample compared to 5 % of all Luxembourgish farms. The data was collected during a farm visit and a 3 h interview with the farm manager. The impact of management system and farm type on the SAFA-goal achievement for the sub-theme Greenhouse Gases (GHG) were studied.

The results show that the sustainability performances of the participating farms were moderate to good. Goal achievement for the sub-theme GHG was moderate and did not differ significantly between the three farm types (OTE 45: 53.3 % ±3.9 SD goal achievement; OTE 46: 55.6 % ±7.3 SD; OTE 47: 54.6 % ±6.9 SD). Organic farms showed a significantly higher mean goal achievement for GHG than conventional farms (p-value < 0.001) (organic: 58.3 % ±6.0 SD; conventional: 52.6 % ±4.4 SD). For indicators positively impacting GHG, the organic and the OTE 46 farms had generally higher ratings. Correlations between GHG and the other sub-themes were mainly in the Environmental Integrity dimension, showing that implementing climate-positive farming practices can also improve other ecological aspects. The indicator analysis identified the following linchpins: increase in protein autarky, closing of farming cycles and holistic approach with strategic decision making leading to harmonized actions towards a sustainable and climate positive farming system.

How to cite: Stoll, E., Schader, C., Bohn, T., Reckinger, R., Leimbrock, L., Altmann, G., and Zimmer, S.: Climate SMART Agriculture: How well does the agricultural sector in Luxembourg perform in terms of climate change?, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-18677, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-18677, 2020.

D2381 |
Robert Hill, Natalia Salazar, and Adel Shirmohammadi

Climate change is projected to affect the atmospheric variables that control crop production in the Eastern United States (US). Given that changes in these variables over the next decades are currently unavoidable, crop production will need to adapt to the expected changes in order to prevent or reduce yield losses. The main objectives of this study were: 1) to evaluate the effects of climate change on yields in rainfed corn (Zea mays L.)-soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.) rotation systems in the Eastern US and 2) to test two soil conservation practices—no tillage and winter cover cropping with rye (Secale cereale L.)—for their effectiveness as climate change adaptations in these systems. We used the Agricultural Policy/Environmental eXtender (APEX) model to simulate corn-soybean rotation systems in the future (2041‒2070) at nine land grant university research farms located throughout the Eastern US corn-soybean production belt from New York to Georgia. The simulated effects of climate change on yields varied depending on the climate model used, ranging from decreases to increases. Mean corn yields experienced decreases of 15‒51% and increases of 14‒85% while mean soybean yields experienced decreases of 7.6‒13% and increases of 22‒170%. Yield decreases were most common under the climate model predicting the highest increase in temperature and a reduction in precipitation, whereas yield increases were most common in the climate models predicting either a relatively small increase in temperature or a relatively large increase in precipitation. In many cases, the effects of climate change on yields worsened with time within the 30-year future period. The effects of climate change differed between the northern, central, and southern regions of the Eastern US, generally improving with latitude. Climate change generally affected corn yields more negatively or less positively than it did soybean yields. No tillage and rye cover cropping did not serve as effective climate change adaptations in regards to corn or soybean yields. In fact, planting rye after corn and soybeans reduced mean corn yields by 3.1‒28% relative to the control (no cover crop). We speculate that this yield decrease occurred because the rye cover crop reduced the amount of soil water available to the following corn crop.

How to cite: Hill, R., Salazar, N., and Shirmohammadi, A.: Effectiveness of Soil Conservation Practices as Climate Change Adaptations in Eastern US Corn-Soybean Production, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-19939, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-19939, 2020.