Sustainable Land Use and Bioeconomy

Perhaps the most evident human change to the Earth system is the conversion of natural ecosystems into agriculture and forestry systems that provide food, wood and other products. Almost half the planet’s land area has undergone this kind of change and our land uses are major contributors to climate change, biodiversity loss and disrupted nutrient cycles. But our managed landscapes are at the same time an integrated part of our cultures and they can support high levels of biodiversity, recreational and other cultural values. The demand for land and biomass will increase as a growing and wealthier global population requires more food, paper, construction wood, etc. Furthermore, biomass use is promoted in a range of new applications due to concerns about resource scarcity and a multitude of negative impacts associated with the use of fossil fuels and other non-renewable resources. Not the least the ambition to limit global warming is potentially a major driver of biomass demand growth.

Our research group addresses a broad range of land use related questions and encompasses studies of resources, technologies, element cycling, biodiversity, ecosystem services, climate impacts and livelihoods, and governance. We develop and employ a multitude of approaches such as land use modeling, LCA, energy- and material-flow analysis, remote sensing/GIS, as well as a combination of other quantitative and qualitative methods. Our aim is to further the understanding of land-use and biomass systems and the associated environmental, social and economic impacts. Results and insights are disseminated to inform land management decisions as well as governance, e.g., the development of policies, standards and certification schemes for bio-based products. 

Senior re​searchers: 
Göran Berndes, Christel Cederberg, Martin Persson, Stefan Wirsenius

Key publications:
Cintas, O., Berndes, G., Hansson, J., Poudel, B.C., Bergh, J., Börjesson, P., Egnell, G., Lundmark, T., Nordin, A. (2017). The potential role of forest management in Swedish scenarios towards climate neutrality by mid century. Forest Ecology and Management, 383: 73-84. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2016.07.015

Englund O, Berndes G, Cederberg C. (2017). How to analyse ecosystem services in landscapes – A systematic review. Ecological Indicators 73, 492-504. doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolind.2016.10.009

Nordborg M., Davis J., Cederberg C., Woodhouse A. (2017). Freshwater ecotoxicity impacts from pesticide use in animal and vegetable foods produced in Sweden. Sci Total Environ, 581, 448-459. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.12.153​

Pendrill, F. U. Martin Persson, M., Godar, J., Kastner, T., Moran, D., Schmidt, S., Wood, R. (2019). Agricultural and forestry trade drives large share of tropical deforestation emissions. Global Environmental Change. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2019.03.002​​


How much land is needed for global food production under scenarios of dietary changes and livestock productivity increases in 2030? S Wirsenius, C Azar, G Berndes, Agricultural systems 103 (9), 621-638. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agsy.2010.07.005

Published: Wed 20 Mar 2019. Modified: Wed 27 Mar 2019