Applying Occam's razor to global agricultural land use change

Engström, Kerstin and Rounsevell, Mark and Murray-Rust, Dave and Hardacre, Catherine Jean and Alexander, Peter and Cui, Xufeng and Palmer, Paul I. and Arneth, Almut (2016) Applying Occam's razor to global agricultural land use change. Environmental Modelling and Software, 75. pp. 212-229. ISSN 1364-8152

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We present a parsimonious agricultural land-use model that is designed to replicate global land-use change while allowing the exploration of uncertainties in input parameters. At the global scale, the modelled uncertainty range of agricultural land-use change covers observed land-use change. Spatial patterns of cropland change at the country level are simulated less satisfactorily, but temporal trends of cropland change in large agricultural nations were replicated by the model. A variance-based global sensitivity analysis showed that uncertainties in the input parameters representing to consumption preferences are important for changes in global agricultural areas. However, uncertainties in technological change had the largest effect on cereal yields and changes in global agricultural area. Uncertainties related to technological change in developing countries were most important for modelling the extent of cropland. The performance of the model suggests that highly generalised representations of socio-economic processes can be used to replicate global land-use change.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Environmental Modelling and Software
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© 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? global agricultural land-useparsimonious modelsparameter uncertaintysensitivity analysiscereal yieldsenvironmental science(all)ecological modelling ??
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Deposited On:
21 Apr 2016 14:20
Last Modified:
05 Jan 2024 00:18