Land Sparing


Increasing both crop and pasture yields can generate increased income for those involved in farming, is critical to meeting global food needs, and is necessary to avoid global expansion of agriculture into forests, savannas and wetlands.  Increases in yields and other forms of agricultural productivity may also lead to local agricultural expansion due to increased profitability.  That results from global and regional shifts in agricultural lands, that lead to net carbon losses (as well as impacts on biodiversity and regional temperatures).  This part of the guidance is addressing ways of boosting productivity in ways that spare land in sevaral ways.

  • The project is developing models for estimating which drivers of yield improvement are likely to lead not just to global but also local land sparing and which to local agricultural expansion.  Initial model development will focus on Zambia and Colombia.
  • The project is developing a model for identifying optimal areas for agricultural expansion with the balanced goals of increasing production and limiting environmental impacts in those situations where expansion is necessary or inevitable.
  • The project is developing a tool for estimating the global greenhouse gas savings if countries simultaneously preserve their own natural areas and associated carbon and boost yields and thereby reduce global pressures on agricultural land expansion.
  • The project is contributing to the development of model land-sparing plans in some target countries, including Indonesia. 
  • The project is developing step-by-step guidance by which countries can develop quantifiable land-sparing plans that combine yield gains and natural resource protection.