Land Use Change
Calculating greenhouse gas emissions from land use change
Deforestation is one of the major issues facing the global agriculture production system, with as much 8% of global CO2 emissions being attributable to land use change. A well-known example is deforestation for the cultivation of crops such as soybean and oil palm. Many publications have focussed (rightfully so) on this issue and have provided solid global or country specific estimations of CO2 emissions due to land use change based on available statistics and/or satellite imagery
Challenge: availability of primary dataA big challenge for Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) researchers is to translate this impact of land use change to specific crops from specific countries while little primary data is available. Our ‘Direct Land Use Change Assessment Tool’ is specifically designed to address this challenge. Land use change in Agri-footprint has been calculated using the LUC Impact tool that was developed alongside the PAS 2050-1 (BSI, 2012). The impact of Land Use Change (LUC) on climate change is included in Agri-footprint as a separate flow, allowing users to choose to include LUC or not. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) practitioners can easily include LUC in their sensitivity analysis if they wish. The comprehensive model used is the PAS 2050-1: Land Use Change Assessment Tool.
More about LUC Impact tool
LUC Impact tool helps to calculate greenhouse gas emissions from land use changeIn Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) studies it is often a requirement to report the greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) caused by LUC separately. However, when calculating the LUC-related carbon footprint of an agricultural product, primary data availability of LUC is often a challenge. For instance, when previous land use is unknown. Fortunately, the FAO has collected data of cropland expansion and contraction, as well as on forest- and grassland expansion and contraction, on country levels. Based on this data, and built on the PAS2050-1 framework, Blonk has developed the LUC Impact tool (formerly known as Direct Land Use Change Assessment tool). LUC Impact is an Excel tool which provides a predefined way of calculating GHG emissions from LUC. The tool gives insight in the land transformation and associated emissions related to the cultivation of a specific country and crop combination. The LUC Impact tool has options to define LUC when the previous land use is known, but also when it is unknown. In case the country of cultivation is also unknown, the tool provides the option to calculate the average GHG emissions connected to LUC for a selected crop. This way, the tool offers three functionalities based on the amount of information available to the user. The tool also enables selecting some specific land management practices that influence the soil organic carbon content, such as tillage level and organic input level, to accurately represent the carbon stock of the specific cultivation system.
The 2021 update: what’s new?After the first version in 2014 we updated the tool yearly, up to 2018. And now, in May 2021, we have published a new version of the tool, under the new name of ‘LUC Impact’. In this update we incorporated the latest data from FAO, up to and including 2018 (the most recent data available in 2021). Furthermore, new estimations of biomass carbon stock in forests from the Forest Resource Assessment 2020 are included, and soil carbon stock factors are adapted to the in 2019 updated guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories from the IPCC. The full update description can be downloaded via the button below.
The tool provides three basic functionalities,
based on three different approaches related to data availability of the user.
Country known & land use unknown
This estimate is based on a number of reference scenarios for previous land use, combined with data from relative crop land expansions based on FAOSTAT.
Country & land use unknown
A weighted average is determined based on FAO statistics, using the same methodology as in ‘country know & land use unknown’ for calculating the GHG emissions for each relevant country.
Country & land use known
These approaches are described in the PAS 2050-1 published by BSI and are made operational in this tool using various IPCC data sources.
Interested in LUC Impact tool?LUC Impact is available under an annual license. Please contact Laura Wolf for a quotation, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The dataset only, including all possible crop-country combinations from the ‘country known; previous land use unknown’ functionality, is available through our tool portal for €250 (ex. VAT).
Via our Tool Portal you will get access to:
most up-to-date dataset (all possible crop- country combinations 'country known; land use unknown).