Global Cropland Expansion Enhances Cropping Potential and Reduce its Inequality among Countries
Abstract. Global cropland expansion has been recognized as a key driver of food security. However, cropland expansion induced alterations in biophysical properties of the Earth's surface and greenhouse gas emissions may potentially impact the Earth's climate system. These changes could, in turn, affect cropland productivity and the potential distribution of croplands, although the underlying mechanisms remain relatively underexplored. In this study, a global climate model was employed to quantify the impact of global cropland expansion on cropping potential, utilizing observed and derived cropland expansion data. Our findings reveal that since 10000 BC, a 28 % increase in cropland expansion has led to a 1.2 % enhancement in global cropping potential, owing to more favorable precipitation and temperature conditions. This suggests that global cropland expansion yields dual benefits to crop production. However, in regions with low growth rates of cropping potential, cropland expansion proves to be an inefficient method for augmenting local crop potential yield. As croplands continue to expand worldwide, the capacity to support populations in different regions is altered, thereby reducing cropping potential inequality among nations.
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