Potential impact of climate and socioeconomic changes on future agricultural land use in West Africa: In Earth Syst. Dynam. Discuss., 6
This study compares the contributions of climate change and socioeconomic development to potential future changes of agricultural land use in West Africa.
It uses a prototype land use projection (LandPro) algorithm which is based on a balance between food supply and demand, and accounts for the impact of socioeconomic drivers on the demand side and the impact of climate-induced crop yield changes on the supply side. It considers the impact of human decision-making on land use.
The paper argues that without agricultural intensification, the climate-induced decrease in crop yield together with increase in food demand are found to cause a significant increase in agricultural land use at the expense of forest and grassland by the mid-century. The increase in agricultural land use is primarily climate-driven in the western part of West Africa and socioeconomically driven in the eastern part. Analysis of results suggests that human adaptation characterized by science-informed decision making to minimize land use could be very effective in many parts of the region.