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Current trends in biodiversity and habitat loss result in economic losses through the loss of ecosystem services, reduced food security due to an increased vulnerability to diseases, and loss of livelihoods. The transition of linear production chains in those parts of the economy that use renewable biological resources from the land and sea, to a more resource efficient and sustainable economy, will keep products and materials longer in use by human society and allow natural systems to regenerate. These biological resources include agricultural crops, and wood from forests to produce food, materials and energy.

To ex-ante explore the impact of this transition on land use and the delivery of provisioning, regulation and cultural ecosystem services a global modelling study was performed including a macro-economic general equilibrium model (magnet), a land use allocation model (iClue) and a suite of ecosystem services models that respond to the spatial composition of a.o. land use. Policies steering towards a more circular economy have been implemented in the market economy model under the SSP2 2050 scenario resulting in country specific land use demands for 16 specific land use classes. On the basis of a compiled land use map representing the current situation for these land use classes and biophysical and socio-economic drivers, regressions were used to downscale projected land use demands to a 1x1 km resolution with global coverage. This downscaling through the land use allocation model assumes that current land use is located on suitable areas described by its spatially explicit bio-physcial and socio-economic characteristics, the neighbouring land use and potential appointed development, or restriction areas (e.g. nature conservation). The iClue land use allocation model and the ecosystem service models were implemented in the QUICKScan modelling environment.


A global land use map was created based on an existing global land use maps and detailed by including pig, cattle, sheep and goat densities, cropping systems (annuals and perennials) and forest management.

For projecting land use the following global drivers for land suitability were used: population density, light intensity, many soil characteristics, climate variables (incl. precipitation and temperature patterns), elevation, accessibility to airports, - the road network, - major cities, protected (conservation) areas, elevation, slope, percentage tree cover, etc.


  • Jancovic, M., Verweij, P., van Eupen, M., Moghayer, S., 2020., Exploring land based benefits of the circular economy, iEMSs conference - modelling for environmental sustainability, Brussels
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