If we combine pastures used for grazing with land used to grow crops for animal feed, livestock accounts for 77% of global farming land. In the following sections you can find disaggregated data for cropland and grazing land change over time. If we extend our land coverage above from arable land use to total agricultural land (which is the sum of arable, permanent crops and pastures and meadows), we still see overall declines in land per person but with different rates and patterns of reduction. There is large variability in the share of land a given country uses for agriculture. Available online. The U.S. population is set to grow by 100 million more people over the coming decades, raising the pressure on limited U.S. land and natural resources. For most countries, land dedicated to cropland is typically below 20 percent, with many countries dedicating less than 10 percent. Note that these are not used to represent the distribution of each: this figure does not mean the United States is wholly used for livestock, or that Europe comprises only of barren land. 4,889 million ha are classified as ‘agricultural area’ by the FAO (this is 37.6% of the Land Area). As a contrast to arable farming, land use for livestock in Europe and South Asia, in particular, is typically less than 20 percent. The FAO predicts that global arable land use will continue to grow to 2050, however, this is likely that this rate of expansion (towards eventual decline) will be at a slower rate than over the past 50 years. Our World In Data is a project of the Global Change Data Lab, a registered charity in England and Wales (Charity Number 1186433). These estimates come from a range of sources, including the UN FAO, OECD and Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA). The visualisation here shows the change in the average cropland use per person over the long-term (since 10,000 BC), measured in hectares per person. Our World in Data presents the empirical evidence on global development in entries dedicated to specific topics. We have color-coded the map based on our current agricultural land requirements and our physical land constraints as follows: Animal products therefore accounted for [32 / (32 + 49) * 100] = 39% of the world’s protein. Rome, FAO. These numbers are taken from FAO (2013) – Statistical Yearbook. This entry can be cited as: Our World in Data is free and accessible for everyone. In 2019, 24,001 species were threatened by ‘agriculture and aquaculture’. Overall, we see that the majority of our arable land is used for cereal production; this has grown from around 650 to 720 million hectares (an area roughly twice the size of Germany) over this period. Ellis, E. C., Klein Goldewijk, K., Siebert, S., Lightman, D., & Ramankutty, N. (2010). This data can be viewed for other countries and regions by selecting ‘ In some countries (particularly in Central Asia, including Mongolia, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan) this can reach up to 70 percent. The land use for agriculture had remained unchanged at around 0.6% since 2011. How has global land use changed over the long-term? Animal products therefore accounted for [514 / (514 + 2370) * 100] = 18% of the world’s calories. As we discussed earlier in the entry, Ausubel, Wernick & Waggoner (2013) applied a simplified model of these variables to predict when the world would reach ‘peak farmland’.7. The Land Area of the World is 13,003 million ha. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 19(5), 589-606. We use roughly half of global habitable land for agriculture. The total land area used for coarse grains has remained approximately constant over this 50 year period, and is the 2nd largest user of arable land. It should be noted that the authors derived their rate of decline (at 0.2 percent per year) based on an average prediction over the period 2010-2060; therefore a divergence from this value over the first 5-year period does not necessarily confirm these averaged predictions to be false. Table 4. The major uncertainties – and explanation for discrepancies – in these assessments is the allocation of ‘rangelands’: in some regions it can be difficult to accurately quantify how much of rangelands are used for grazing, and how much is free from human pressure. This visualisation shows total cropland (which does not include land for grazing) over the long-term, measured in hectares. Permanent pastures are 68.4% of all agricultural land (26.3% of global land area), arable land (row crops) is 28.4% of all agricultural land (10.9% of global land area), and permanent crops (e.g. Land use in Asia– both in South and East Asia is lowest (5-6 times less than in North America).
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