Footprint analysis reveals the appropriation of land resources from a consumer’s perspective. We here present a novel hybrid land-flow accounting method for the calculation of land footprints, employing a globally consistent top-down approach and combining physical with environmental economic accounting. Physical accounting tracks food products from ‘field to plate’ and non-food from ‘field to industrial use’ using the large harmonized FAO data to track biomass flows and related land use in physical volumes (tons of biomass). Environmental-economic accounting is used to further track non-food commodities in monetary values to final consumption. The hybrid methodology has been applied annually between 1995 and 2010 for 21 regional markets globally and including major economies separately (e.g. USA, China, India). Per capita extents and composition of cropland footprints vary widely across the world. Detailed results for Germany and the EU28 highlight the higher land demand of livestock-based diets compared to crop-based diets, the growing integration in international markets, and the growing importance of the non-food sector since 2000. Today the land footprint of each Germany citizen appropriates on average 2693 m2 cropland (about one half for livestock-based diets, one quarter for crop-based diets and one quarter for non-food products). Additional 1655 m2 of grassland per capita are used for the consumption of ruminant livestock products. Germany is a major and increasing trading partner with current net ‘cropland imports’ of 10.6 Mha. Overall, half of Germany’s 22 Mha cropland footprint relies on domestic cultivation and half on land resources abroad. Albeit large uncertainties in the calculation of grassland footprints, results point towards Germany being a significant net importer of grassland embedded in ruminant livestock products.
|Place of Publication||Dessau-Roßlau|
|Publication status||Published - 2017|