i

Land & Soils


Unlocking the Sustainable Potential of Land Resources: Evaluation Systems, Strategies and Tools (2016)


Full report  ENGLISH

 

Summary Report ENGLISH | CHINESE

 

Factsheet ENGLISH | CHINESE

 


 

Land resources are one of nature’s most precious gifts. They feed us and help our societies and economies to thrive. Some 2.5 billion agricultural smallholders worldwide manage around 500 million small farms, providing more than 80 per cent of food consumed in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

These resources are being degraded at an alarming pace. An estimated 33 per cent of soil is moderately to highly-degraded due to erosion, nutrient depletion, acidification, salinization, compaction and chemical pollution. Each year we lose 24 billion tonnes of fertile soil and 15 billion trees, costing the economy around $40 billion.

Assessing Global Land Use: Balancing Consumption with Sustainable Supply (2014)


Full report  ENGLISH

 

Summary Report ENGLISH

 

Factsheet ENGLISH | FRENCH | SPANISH

 

Power Point Presentation (PDF) ENGLISH

Watch video on launch of the report, World Economic Forum, 24 January 2014 - video produced with the kind support of the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment

 

This report was produced by the Land and Soils Working Group of the International Resource Panel. It explores how the management of land-based biomass production and consumption can be developed towards a higher degree of sustainability across different scales: from the sustainable management of soils on the field to the sustainable management of global land use as a whole.

Specifically, this report looks at the impacts of global trends -population growth, urbanization, and changes in diets and consumption behaviors -on global land use dynamics, considering the consequences for biodiversity, the supply of food, fibers and fuel, and the long-lasting implications for resource security.

It is intended to support the international discussion and to provide decision makers in national and regional governments and NGOs with an overview of key challenges and possible options related to sustainable land use.

Towards Sustainable Production and Use of Resources: Assessing Biofuels (2009)

 

Full report ENGLISH

 

Summary Report ENGLISH | FRENCH | SPANISH | JAPANESE

 

Factsheet ARABIC | CHINESE | ENGLISH | FRENCH | SPANISH

 

This report was produced by the Working Group on Biofuels of the International Resource Panel. It provides an overview of the key problems and perspectives toward sustainable production and use of biofuels.

It is based on an extensive literature study, taking into account recent major reviews. The focus is on so-called first generation biofuels while considering further lines of development. 

In the overall context of enhancing resource productivity, options for more efficient and sustainable production and use of biomass are examined. In particular, "modern biomass use" for energetic purposes, such as biomass used for (co-) generation of heat and power and liquid biofuels for transport, are addressed and related to the use of biomass for food and material purposes.

Whereas improving the efficiency of biomass production plays a certain role towards enhancing sustainability, progress will ultimately depend on a more efficient use of biotic (and abiotic) resources (incl. for instance an increased fuel economy of car fleets), although a full consideration of all relevant strategies towards this end (e.g. changing diets high in animal based foods and reducing food losses) is beyond the scope of this report.

Reports & Publications

  • Unlocking the Sustainable Potential of Land Resources: Evaluation Systems, Strategies and Tools

    Land resources are one of nature’s most precious gifts. They feed us and help our societies and economies to thrive. Some 2.5 billion agricultural smallholders worldwide....


  • Food systems and natural resources

    Global food systems have radically changed over the last 50 years. Food production has more than  doubled, diets have become more varied (and often more energy-intense) satisfying people’s preferences ...


  • Options for Decoupling Economic Growth from Water Use and Water Pollution

    Global trends point to a relative decoupling of water – that is, the rate of water resource use is increasing at a rate slower than that of economic growth. The Options for Decoupling Economic Growth from...


  • Green energy choices: The benefits, risks and trade-offs of low-carbon technologies for electricity production

    This report represents the first in-depth international comparative assessment of the environmental, health and resource impacts of different low-carbon technologies for electricity production… ...


  • International Trade in Resources: A Biophysical Assessment                                                                                                                          

    This latest report from the IRP analyses the role of international trade in increasing resource efficiency, reducing environmental impact and promoting equitable and inclusive growth? ...


  • Assessing Global Land Use: Balancing Consumption with Sustainable Supply

    This report explores how the management of land-based biomass production and consumption can be developed towards a higher degree of sustainability across different scales: from the sustainable...


  • Assessing the Environmental Impacts of Consumption and Production: Priority Products and Materials

    This report focuses not on the effects of environmental pressure, but on its causes. It describes pressures as resulting from economic activities. These activities are pursued for a purpose, ...


  • City Level Decoupling: Urban Resource Flows and the Governance of Infrastructure Transitions

    This report examines the potential for decoupling at the city level. While the majority of the worlds population now live in cities and cities are where most resource consumption takes place, ...


  • Measuring Water Use in a Green Economy
     

    Water is an essential resource for virtually all aspects of human enterprise, from agriculture via urbanization to energy and industrial production. Equally, the many uses for water create pressures...


  • Decoupling Natural Resources Use and Environmental Impacts from Economic Growth

    Humankind has witnessed phenomenal economic and social development in the past century. However, there are increasing signs that it has come at a cost to the environment and to the availability of ...


  • Towards Sustainable Production and Use of Resources: Assessing Biofuels

    This report provides an overview of the key problems and perspectives and use of biofuels. It is based on an extensive literature study, taking into account recent major reviews.


  • Building Natural Capital: How REDD+ can Support a Green Economy

    This report advocates placing REDD+ into a larger planning framework that should involve multiple influences (especially those driving deforestation, albeit sometimes inadvertently).


  • Decoupling 2: Technologies, Opportunities and Policy Options
     

    This report was produced by the Decoupling Working Group of the IRP. It explores technological possibilities and opportunities for both developing and developed countries to ...


  • Metal Stocks in Society: Scientific Synthesis
     

    The continued increase in the use of metals over the twentieth century has led to a substantial shift from geological resource base to metal stocks in society. This report reviews the relevant literature on this topic.


  • Recycling Rates of Metals: A Status Report
     

    In theory, metals can be used over and over again, minimizing the need to mine and process virgin materials and thus saving substantial amounts of energy and water while minimizing environmental ...


  • Environmental Risks and Challenges of Anthropogenic Metals Flows and Cycles

    This report focuses on the impact of metals on the environment as well as on their life cycle energy use. Currently primary metals production is responsible for 78 % of the total global energy use ...


  • Metal Recycling: Opportunities, Limits, Infrastructure
     

    A key question that relates to the very broad and intensive use of metals is whether society needs to be concerned about long-term supplies of any or many of them. This is a many-faceted question ...