Institute of the Environment and Sustainability
Agricultural expansion induced by biofuels: Comparing predictions of market‐equilibrium models to historical trends
- Author(s): Rajagopal, Deepak
- et al.
Predicting global land use change (LUC) due to biofuel expansion and predicting greenhouse gas emissions attributable to LUC are both complex. This paper has the simpler objective of describing what the weight of historical experience in maize production during the past �ve decades in the US suggests about how much gross agricultural acreage may need to expand to accommodate higher crop demand and how this compares with predictions in the literature on LUC due to biofuels. We disaggregate historical change in crop production in the US into intensive and extensive margin e�ects and use the latter to predict a range for LUC due to US maize ethanol mandates. Analysis of historical data suggests that while for brief periods (2 or 3 years) acreage expansion could occur at the high rates predicted by several studies, in the long-run net expansion is likely to be smaller than such predictions.