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Land Use Change in the Continental United States: Are There Tipping Points?

50 Pages Posted: 4 Sep 2020 Publication Status: Review Complete

See all articles by Angelo C. Gurgel

Angelo C. Gurgel

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change

John M. Reilly

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change

Élodie Blanc

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change

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Abstract

Land use in US is driven by multiple forces operating at the global level, as income and population growth, yield and productivity improvement, trade policy, climate change, and changing diets. Future land use have implications for biodiversity, run-off, carbon storage, ecosystem values, agriculture, and the broader economy. We investigate those forces in the US and their implications from a multisector, multisystem dynamics (MSD) perspective focused on understanding dynamics and resilience in complex interdependent systems. Historical trends show slightly increased grassland and natural forest areas and decreases in cropland. We project these trends are intensified under higher pressures for agriculture land or reduced under lower pressures, with no evidence of tipping points toward larger agricultural land abandonment or deforestation. However, US sectoral output and trade, fertilizer use, N2O and CH4 emissions from agriculture activities and CO2 emissions from land use changes are substantially impacted under several land use forcing scenarios.

Keywords: land use changes, multisystem dynamics, tipping points, environmental impacts, economic impacts

Suggested Citation

Gurgel, Angelo C. and Reilly, John M. and Blanc, Élodie, Land Use Change in the Continental United States: Are There Tipping Points?. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3667142 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3667142
This version of the paper has not been formally peer reviewed.

Angelo C. Gurgel (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change ( email )

E19-429
77 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States

John M. Reilly

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change ( email )

E19-429
77 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States
617-253-8040 (Phone)

Élodie Blanc

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

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