Articles | Volume 5, issue 5
Geosci. Model Dev., 5, 1297–1322, 2012
Geosci. Model Dev., 5, 1297–1322, 2012

Model description paper 19 Oct 2012

Model description paper | 19 Oct 2012

The Nexus Land-Use model version 1.0, an approach articulating biophysical potentials and economic dynamics to model competition for land-use

F. Souty1,2, T. Brunelle1, P. Dumas1,3, B. Dorin1,3, P. Ciais2, R. Crassous1, C. Müller4, and A. Bondeau4,5 F. Souty et al.
  • 1Centre International de Recherche sur l'Environnement et le Développement, Nogent-sur-Marne, France
  • 2Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, UMR8212, Gif-sur-Yvette, France
  • 3Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement, Montpellier, France
  • 4Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Potsdam, Germany
  • 5Institut Méditerranéen de Biodiversité et d'Ecologie marine et continentale, Aix-en-Provence, France

Abstract. Interactions between food demand, biomass energy and forest preservation are driving both food prices and land-use changes, regionally and globally. This study presents a new model called Nexus Land-Use version 1.0 which describes these interactions through a generic representation of agricultural intensification mechanisms within agricultural lands. The Nexus Land-Use model equations combine biophysics and economics into a single coherent framework to calculate crop yields, food prices, and resulting pasture and cropland areas within 12 regions inter-connected with each other by international trade. The representation of cropland and livestock production systems in each region relies on three components: (i) a biomass production function derived from the crop yield response function to inputs such as industrial fertilisers; (ii) a detailed representation of the livestock production system subdivided into an intensive and an extensive component, and (iii) a spatially explicit distribution of potential (maximal) crop yields prescribed from the Lund-Postdam-Jena global vegetation model for managed Land (LPJmL). The economic principles governing decisions about land-use and intensification are adapted from the Ricardian rent theory, assuming cost minimisation for farmers. In contrast to the other land-use models linking economy and biophysics, crops are aggregated as a representative product in calories and intensification for the representative crop is a non-linear function of chemical inputs. The model equations and parameter values are first described in details. Then, idealised scenarios exploring the impact of forest preservation policies or rising energy price on agricultural intensification are described, and their impacts on pasture and cropland areas are investigated.