Is there Really Spare Land? A Critique of Estimates of Available Cultivable Land in Developing Countries

  title={Is there Really Spare Land? A Critique of Estimates of Available Cultivable Land in Developing Countries},
  author={Anthony Young},
  journal={Environment, Development and Sustainability},
  • A. Young
  • Published 1 March 1999
  • Economics
  • Environment, Development and Sustainability
Five assessments covering less-developed countries have identified a ‘land balance’, available for future cultivation, using the approach of inventory and difference: assessment of the area cultivable, and subtraction of the area presently cultivated. All arrive at a balance of 1600–1900 Mha, about twice the present cultivated area. The supposed existence of this spare land is widely quoted in forecasts of capacity to meet the food requirements for future population increase. It is argued here… 
Assessment of global land availability: land supply for agriculture
We developed a new assessment method of the land supply for agriculture, on a grid scale basis and per region, which takes into account both biophysical, institutional and socio-economic parameters
Land use and agricultural productivity in Ghana
Uncertainties persist in sub-Saharan Africa regarding both the availability of land which could be put under cultivation as well as the potential for an important improvement in yields. In order to
Estimating the world's potentially available cropland using a bottom-up approach
A review of global potentially available cropland estimates and their consequences for model‐based assessments
A high, a medium, and a low estimate of cropland availability are constructed that are representative of the range of estimates in the reviewed studies and applied in a land-change model to illustrate the consequences on croplands expansion and intensification as well as deforestation.
Population growth and loss of arable land
Extending global irrigation maps – going beyond statistics
Agriculture is the largest global consumer of water. Irrigated areas contribute to 40 % of the agricultural production. Information on their spatial distribution is highly relevant for regional water
A global approach to estimate irrigated areas – a comparison between different data and statistics
Abstract. Agriculture is the largest global consumer of water. Irrigated areas constitute 40 % of the total area used for agricultural production (FAO, 2014a) Information on their spatial
Sparing land for nature: exploring the potential impact of changes in agricultural yield on the area needed for crop production
How can rapidly growing food demands be met with least adverse impact on nature? Two very different sorts of suggestions predominate in the literature: wildlife‐friendly farming, whereby on‐farm
An Exploration of Human-Environment Interactions that Shape the Earth's Surface
The world’s population is growing and demand for food, feed, fiber, and fuel is increasing, placing greater demand on land and its resources for crop production. We review previously published


Population momentum and the demand on land and water resources
Future world population growth is fuelled by two components: the demographic momentum, which is built into the age composition of current populations, and changes in reproductive behaviour and
Potential Population Supporting Capacities of Lands in the Developing World
Potential population supporting capacities of land under three levels of input circumstances were assessed. The analysis was undertaken at the level of individual country length-of-growing-period
Assessment of soil nutrient depletion in sub-Saharan Africa: 1983-2000.
J.J. Stoorvogel, E.M.A. Smaling, 1990. Assessment of soil nutrient depletion in Sub-Saharan Africa: 1983-2000. Wageningen (The Netherlands), The Winand Staring Centre. Report 28, 4 VolL111es;
Environmental degradation global food production and risk for large-scale migrations.
This paper attempts to estimate the effects of the ongoing environmental degradation to the global food production. The environmental degradation processes being considered here are soil erosion
Environmental and natural resource degradation in intensive agriculture in Bangladesh
Substantial intensification of agriculture in Bangladesh has led to foodgrain self-sufficiency being achieved in good years. As currently practiced, however, intensive agriculture is degrading the
Land degradation in South Asia: Its severity, causes, and effects upon the people
The designations employed and the presentation of material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United
Soil monitoring: a basic task for soil survey organizations
. A basic task of national soil survey organizations should be to monitor changes in soil properties. The objectives would be to establish which land-use systems, on which soil types, are causing
Feeding the Ten Billion: Plants and Population Growth
Preface Acknowledgements 1. Introduction: timebomb or treadmill? 2. Reaching five million (to 8000 BC) 3. Towards fifty million (8000 BC-2000 BC) 4. The first half billion (2000 BC-1500 AD) 5. The