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Article

Identifying Potential Cropland Losses When Conserving 30% and 50% Earth with Different Approaches and Spatial Scales

by 1,2,†, 3,4,†, 1,2,*, 1,2, 5, 6,7, 3,4 and 1,2,8
1
Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Earth System Modeling, Department of Earth System Science, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
2
Ministry of Education Ecological Field Station for East Asian Migratory Birds, Beijing 100084, China
3
Institute for National Parks, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
4
Department of Landscape Architecture, School of Architecture, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
5
Conservation International, Beijing 100027, China
6
Guangdong Key Laboratory for Urbanization and Geo-simulation, School of Geography and Planning, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
7
Southern Marine Science and Engineering Guangdong Laboratory (Zhuhai), Zhuhai 519082, China
8
Department of Geography and Department of Earth Sciences, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Contributed equally.
Academic Editors: Bastian Bertzky, Colleen Corrigan and Susan Snyman
Land 2021, 10(7), 704; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10070704
Received: 20 May 2021 / Revised: 24 June 2021 / Accepted: 2 July 2021 / Published: 4 July 2021
Biodiversity conservation is the cornerstone for sustainable development. Bold conservation targets provide the last opportunities to halt the human-driven mass extinction. Recently, bold conservation targets have been proposed to protect 30% or 50% of Earth. However, little is known about its potential impacts on cropland. We identify potential cropland losses when 30% and 50% of global terrestrial area is given back to nature by 2030/2050, at three spatial scales (global, biome and country) and using two approaches (“nature-only landscapes” and “shared landscapes”). We find that different targets, applied scales and approaches will lead to different cropland losses: (1) At the global scale, it is possible to protect 50% of the Earth while having minimum cropland losses. (2) At biome scale, 0.64% and 8.54% cropland will be lost globally in 2030 and 2050 under the nature-only approach while by contrast, the shared approach substantially reduces the number of countries confronted by cropland losses, demanding only 0% and 2.59% of global cropland losses in 2030 and 2050. (3) At the national scale, the nature-only approach causes losses of 3.58% and 10.73% of global cropland in 2030 and 2050, while the shared approach requires 0.77% and 7.55% cropland in 2030 and 2050. Our results indicate that bold conservation targets could be considered, especially when adopting the shared approach, and we suggest adopting ambitious targets (protecting at least 30% by 2030) at the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15) to ensure a sustainable future for Earth. View Full-Text
Keywords: protected areas; cropland; Half-Earth; biodiversity conservation; food security protected areas; cropland; Half-Earth; biodiversity conservation; food security
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MDPI and ACS Style

Zhao, J.; Cao, Y.; Yu, L.; Liu, X.; Shi, Y.; Liu, X.; Yang, R.; Gong, P. Identifying Potential Cropland Losses When Conserving 30% and 50% Earth with Different Approaches and Spatial Scales. Land 2021, 10, 704. https://doi.org/10.3390/land10070704

AMA Style

Zhao J, Cao Y, Yu L, Liu X, Shi Y, Liu X, Yang R, Gong P. Identifying Potential Cropland Losses When Conserving 30% and 50% Earth with Different Approaches and Spatial Scales. Land. 2021; 10(7):704. https://doi.org/10.3390/land10070704

Chicago/Turabian Style

Zhao, Jianqiao, Yue Cao, Le Yu, Xiaoxuan Liu, Yichuan Shi, Xiaoping Liu, Rui Yang, and Peng Gong. 2021. "Identifying Potential Cropland Losses When Conserving 30% and 50% Earth with Different Approaches and Spatial Scales" Land 10, no. 7: 704. https://doi.org/10.3390/land10070704

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