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Using embodied HANPP to analyze teleconnections in the global land system: conceptual considerations

2009, DANISH JOURNAL OF GEOGRAPHY - número/volum 109 (2) - ISSN: 0016-7223 - Pàgines 119-130

Autors de l'ICTA:
Joan Martínez Alier

Tots els autors:
Haberl, H., Erb, K.H., Krausmann, F., Berecz, S., Ludwiczek, N., Martinez-Alier, J., Musel, A., Schaffartzik, A.

In our rapidly globalizing world economy activities in one region have increasingly important effects on ecological, economic or social processes elsewhere, an effect which we here denote as ‘teleconnections’ between different regions. Biomass trade, one of the causes behind such teleconnections, is currently growing exponentially. Integrated analyses of changes in the global land system are high on the agenda of sustainability science, but a methodological framework for a consistent allocation of environmental burdens related to the consumption and production of biomass between regions has not been put forth to date. The concept of the ‘embodied human appropriation of net primary production’ (abbreviated ‘embodied HANPP’ or ‘eHANPP’) allows for the assessment of the ‘upstream’ effects on ecosystem energetics associated with a particular level of biomass consumption or with a given biomass-based product. This concept is based on HANPP and its two components: (1) productivity changes resulting from land conversion (?NPPLC), and (2) harvest of biomass in ecosystems (NPPh). HANPP, defined as the sum of ?NPPLC and NPPh in any given territory, is indicative of the intensity with which humans use the land for their purposes. eHANPP is defined as the NPP appropriated in the course of biomass production, encompassing losses along the production chain as well as productivity changes induced through land conversion or harvest. By making the pressure exerted on ecosystems associated with imports and exports visible, eHANPP allows for the analysis of teleconnections between producing and consuming regions. This article puts forward the eHANPP concept, illustrates its utility for integrated socioecological landchange research based on top-down data on global HANPP and biomass consumption, and discusses the possibilities and challenges related to its quantification in bottom-up approaches.

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