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      Global agriculture and carbon trade-offs.

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          Abstract

          Feeding a growing and increasingly affluent world will require expanded agricultural production, which may require converting grasslands and forests into cropland. Such conversions can reduce carbon storage, habitat provision, and other ecosystem services, presenting difficult societal trade-offs. In this paper, we use spatially explicit data on agricultural productivity and carbon storage in a global analysis to find where agricultural extensification should occur to meet growing demand while minimizing carbon emissions from land use change. Selective extensification saves ∼ 6 billion metric tons of carbon compared with a business-as-usual approach, with a value of approximately $1 trillion (2012 US dollars) using recent estimates of the social cost of carbon. This type of spatially explicit geospatial analysis can be expanded to include other ecosystem services and other industries to analyze how to minimize conflicts between economic development and environmental sustainability.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
          Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
          1091-6490
          0027-8424
          Aug 26 2014
          : 111
          : 34
          Affiliations
          [1 ] Departments of Applied Economics and The Nature Conservancy, Arlington, VA 22203 Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108; and.
          [2 ] Departments of Applied Economics and Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108; and.
          [3 ] Departments of Applied Economics and.
          [4 ] Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108; and.
          [5 ] Departments of Applied Economics and Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108; and Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, and polasky@umn.edu.
          Article
          1412835111
          10.1073/pnas.1412835111
          25114254

          cropland expansion, food security

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