Land Take & Food Security

Land take generally manifests as an increase in artificial surfaces (e.g. residential areas, green city/town areas, manufacturing plants, business centres, public transport networks) over time, whereas soil sealing is the permanent covering of the soil layer with a persistent material.

Soil sustains (directly or indirectly) more than 95% of global food production (FAO 2008). The estimated global increase of the world population from 6.8 billion in 2009 to 9.2 billion in 2050 (Speidel et al. 2009) will lead to a significant increase in both food demand and land take. The combination of these conflicting processes raised international concern for global food security. Major factors influencing global food security are cropland shrinkage, fisheries reduction, increased wealth in countries such as China and India with consequent increased demand for food , global warming (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2005) and an overall intensification of agriculture and greater pressures on soils.

The main objective of this page is to present the effect of land take on Europe's ability to produce food, considering data from the period from 1990 to 2006. 
Used Input datasets: CORINE Land Cover 1990, 2000 and 2006. Eurostat NUTS, Average winter wheat production in Europe. 
Methodology: a) land-take maps were generated by applying a number of GIS operations to CORINE datasets, one for the period 1990–2000 and another for the period 2000–2006 .
b) Each land-take map was overlaid with NUTS2 polygons, in order to compute the extent of agricultural land taken in each NUTS2 administrative unit. 
c) The calculation of the loss of Potential Agricultural Production Capability in a NUTS2 region was based on land take (in hectares) and the average winter wheat yields (MARS data) (t/ha) for that region (Multiplication).

Land take 1990-2000 Land take 2000-2006


Results: In the 21 Member States of the European Union (for which CORINE Land Cover 1990-2000-2006 was available) the land take from agriculture was calculated to be 752,973 ha for 1990–2000 and 436,095 ha for 2000–2006. Bulgaria and Malta were not taken into consideration for further analysis due to incomplete values of Average Winter Wheat Yields at NUTS2 level. In 182 Regions of the remaining 19 Countries (AT, BE, CZ, DK, DE, EE, ES, FR, HU, IE, IT, LT, LU, NL, PL, PT, RO, SK, SI) the Potential Agricultural Production Capability was calculated at 6,122,400 tonnes of wheat for the whole period 1990–2006. It was estimated that approximately 0.81% of Potential Agricultural Production Capability was lost due to land take in the EU during the period 1990–2006.


Users can download the data (in Excel file) and develop their own maps.

More Information & Citation
Gardi, C., Panagos, P., Van Liedekerke, M., Bosco, C., de Brogniez, D. 2015. Land take and food security: assessment of land take on the agricultural production in Europe. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 58 (5) , pp. 898-912.

Loss of agricultural production 


Ciro Gardi, University of Parma , 
Panos Panagos, European Commission,

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Title: Soil Sealing & food security (Loss of Potential Agricultural Production Capability)
Resource Type: Datasets, Soil Threats Data
Year: 2014