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    Rights statement: © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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Applying Occam's razor to global agricultural land use change

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • Kerstin Engström
  • Mark Rounsevell
  • Dave Murray-Rust
  • Catherine Jean Hardacre
  • Peter Alexander
  • Xufeng Cui
  • Paul I. Palmer
  • Almut Arneth
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>01/2016
<mark>Journal</mark>Environmental Modelling and Software
Number of pages18
Pages (from-to)212-229
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date11/11/15
<mark>Original language</mark>English


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.

Bibliographic note

© 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).