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Journal Article

Agriculture and resource availability in a changing world: The role of irrigation


Sauer,  Timm
IMPRS on Earth System Modelling, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

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Sauer, T., Havlik, P., Schneider, U. A., Schmid, E., Kindermann, G., & Obersteiner, M. (2010). Agriculture and resource availability in a changing world: The role of irrigation. Water Resources Research, 46: W06503. doi:10.1029/2009WR007729.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0019-F1F3-C
Fertile land and freshwater constitute two of the most fundamental resources for food production. These resources are affected by environmental, political, economic, and technical developments. Regional impacts may transmit to the world through increased trade. With a global forest and agricultural sector model, we quantify the impacts of increased demand for food due to population growth and economic development on potential land and water use until 2030. In particular, we investigate producer adaptation regarding crop and irrigation choice, agricultural market adjustments, and changes in the values of land and water. In the context of resource sustainability and food security, this study accounts for the spatial and operational heterogeneity of irrigation management to globally assess agricultural land and water use. Agricultural responses to population and economic growth include considerable increases in irrigated area and water use but reductions in the average water intensity. Different irrigation systems are preferred under different exogenous biophysical and socioeconomic conditions. Negligence of these adaptations would bias the burden of development on land and water scarcity. Without technical progress, substantial price adjustments for land, water, and food would be required to equilibrate supply and demand.