Posts Tagged ‘Land’

Energy, rubber and agriculture.

June 21, 2009

From Science Magazine, 22 May 2009.

Bioenergy needs land. Rubber production needs land. That is the connection. And in addition food production needs land.

Two connected articles in this issue of Science are about efficient use of land for biofuels. What is the most efficient way to use one hectare of land, corn ethanol for flexifuel cars or bioenergy for electricity production and use of electric cars? The calculations show advantage for the electric way, although there is a lot of development to do. It is also stressed that only energy is considered, not for instance environmental effects of  batteries etc. But I have a question, despite the “high level research”: can switchgrass sustainably produce 13 tons dry matter per hectare each year?

The term “land use efficiency” is considered important.

 The rubber issue is another matter. Here low-efficient but maybe sustainable land use (shifting cultivation) in southern China is converted to more effcient plantation rubber monoculture. There are questions about the large-scale ecological consequences.

And the food production needs to increase, or at least change in a direction opposite of the trends of today.

The land issue will gain in importance.

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On land resource, production and diversity

October 2, 2008

In the magazine Science 29 aug is an interesting article about old cultures in the Amazonas: Heckenberger et al, Precolumbian Urbanism, Anthropogenic Landscapes and the Future om the Amazon.

In inner Amazonas an urban culture had developed in the 14th century, involving controled utilization of the land. The authors conclude that we can learn from this. Local semi-intensive land use can provide strategies for biodiversity, ecological stability and resource use.

 

How come that developed societies like these were conquered by a fairly small group of soldiers/plunderers from Europe? A book recommendation: Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs and Steel.

 

But there are other perspectives. The authors estimate the population density in the Amazonas culture to 2,5 persons per square km. Today´s figures are for Brazil 20, for the world 14 and for Germany, to take a European example, 230.

 

Of course we should learn and be inspired, but the world of today demands other solutions.

 

Our modern agriculture saves land, but we have to work on the ecological efficiency.