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Trading forests: land-use change and carbon emissions embodied in production and exports of forest-risk commodities
Linköping University, Department of Thematic Studies, Tema Environmental Change. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Linköping University, Department of Thematic Studies, Centre for Climate Science and Policy Research.
Physical Resource Theory, Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden.
Institute of Social Ecology Vienna, Alpen Adria University of Klagenfurt, Vienna, Austria.
2015 (English)In: Environmental Research Letters, ISSN 1748-9326, E-ISSN 1748-9326, Vol. 10, no 12, 125012- p.Article in journal (Refereed) PublishedText
Abstract [en]

Production of commercial agricultural commodities for domestic and foreign markets is increasingly driving land clearing in tropical regions, creating links and feedback effects between geographically separated consumption and production locations. Such teleconnections are commonly studied through calculating consumption footprints and quantifying environmental impacts embodied in trade flows, e.g., virtual water and land, biomass, or greenhouse gas emissions. The extent to which land-use change (LUC) and associated carbon emissions are embodied in the production and export of agricultural commodities has been less studied. Here we quantify tropical deforestation area and carbon emissions from LUC induced by the production and the export of four commodities (beef, soybeans, palm oil, and wood products) in seven countries with high deforestation rates (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea). We show that in the period 2000-2011, the production of the four analyzed commodities in our seven case countries was responsible for 40% of total tropical deforestation and resulting carbon losses. Over a third of these impacts was embodied in exports in 2011, up from a fifth in 2000. This trend highlights the growing influence of global markets in deforestation dynamics. Main flows of embodied LUC are Latin American beef and soybean exports to markets in Europe, China, the former Soviet bloc, the Middle East and Northern Africa, whereas embodied emission flows are dominated by Southeast Asian exports of palm oil and wood products to consumers in China, India and the rest of Asia, as well as to the European Union. Our findings illustrate the growing role that global consumers play in tropical LUC trajectories and highlight the need for demand-side policies covering whole supply chains. We also discuss the limitations of such demand-side measures and call for a combination of supply- and demand-side policies to effectively limit tropical deforestation, along with research into the interactions of different types of policy interventions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IOP PUBLISHING LTD , 2015. Vol. 10, no 12, 125012- p.
Keyword [en]
deforestation; international trade; carbon footprint; sustainable supply chains; teleconnections
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-124509DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/10/12/125012ISI: 000367286300044OAI: diva2:899579

Funding Agencies|Swedish Research Council (FORMAS); Norden Top-level Research Initiative subprogramme Effect Studies and Adaptation to Climate Change through the Nordic Centre of Excellence for Strategic Adaptation Research (NORD-STAR); European Research Council [ERC-263522]; Center for Global Development (CGD)

Available from: 2016-02-02 Created: 2016-02-01 Last updated: 2016-06-14

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Henders, Sabine
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Tema Environmental ChangeFaculty of Arts and SciencesCentre for Climate Science and Policy Research
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