Conference Agenda

331R: Land transformations through Food-Land-Energy-Water (FLEW) nexus approaches: lessons learned and key gaps
Wednesday, 24/Apr/2019:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Grace Villamor
Session Chair: David LaMond Griffith
Location: MB-206
Main Building, room 206, second floor, east wing, 56 seats
Session Topics:
How do we support transformation?

Session Abstract

Over the past 50 years, climate, technology, and land uses have changed so rapidly and profoundly that the systems we rely on for food, energy production, water, and ecosystem services require new approaches to designing resilient landscapes. The food-land-energy-water (FLEW) nexus approach is one of approach being promoted for achieving global sustainability and resilience. Several landscape transformation and scenario-based tools have been developed for different contexts and have resulted in increases in land-use efficiency. There are also emerging issues, such as how to deal with accumulating food processing and agricultural wastes, that affect the integrity of water and land systems. In this session, the aim is to identify and assess the latest developments in achieving food, energy, and water securities and alleviating land degradation. This includes methods and approaches for dealing with conflicting objectives of stakeholders and techniques in co-production of knowledge related to the nexus. Based on the different case studies and methods, this session will compare and synthesize lessons learned and identify remaining key gaps and challenges.

Session Organizers: Grace Villamor and David Griffith

Full talk
ID: 787 / 331R: 1
331R Land transformations through Food-Land-Energy-Water (FLEW) nexus approaches: lessons learned and key gaps
Keywords: food security, energy security, WEF Nexus, Ethiopia, smallholder agriculture

Wef nexus trade-offs and synergies in smallholder agriculture: empirical evidence from Ethiopia

Alisher Mirzabaev1, Dawit Guta2

1University of Bonn, Germany; 2University of Addis Ababa

Smallholder households living in developing countries face a considerable tradeoff between their semi-subsistence food production and domestic production of energy resources. This is due to competition between the two over scarce resources such as land, labor and other agricultural inputs. Combining water-energy-food security nexus and non-separable agricultural household decision-making frameworks, this study analyzed the tradeoff between food and energy using household surveys from Ethiopia. The study applied simultaneous structural equation modelling with a three stage least squares (3sls) estimation technique to capture the simultaneity and endogeneity of household food and energy production and consumption decisions. The results showed that Ethiopian agricultural households depended on their own production to meet food and energy needs. When own food production rose by 1%, household food consumption increased by 0.15% and when energy production increased by 1%, energy consumption rose by 0.22%. Our study revealed that there was a tradeoff between household overall resource allocation for food and energy production, including land and agricultural inputs. When energy production rose by 1%, food production decreased by 0.35%. Similarly, when food production increased by 1%, energy production and consumption decreased by 1.17% and 0.31%,respectively.These findings suggest that long-term, sustainable development solutions are needed to simultaneously enhance household food security and improve energy access in developing country settings require more investments into decentralized energy systems and centralized electricity grid access.

Full talk
ID: 793 / 331R: 2
331R Land transformations through Food-Land-Energy-Water (FLEW) nexus approaches: lessons learned and key gaps
Keywords: bioenergy, dynamics, fuelwood, gender roles, labor allocation, quality of life

Gender and food-energy-land security nexus in rural Ethiopia: an agent-based modeling development

Grace Villamor

University of Idaho, United States of America

This research focused on the development of a gendered, agent-based model to investigate gender dimensions of the food-energy-land nexus in the rural highlands of Ethiopia. This included the specific roles of men and women that may reduce or enhance synergies among food-energy-land nexus resources, and their specific responses to modern bioenergy interventions to address current energy crises. Furthermore, the model was applied to explore whether the introduction of modern bioenergy technology would improve the quality of life for both men and women. The modeling process included the calibration of existing sub-models such as forest yields, to highlight the dependency of rural households on traditional energy sources. The study results suggest that increasing access to modern bioenergy such as biogas, particularly women farmers can increase crop production and enhance food security, however, reduced workloads for women resulting from the adoption of biogas digesters will not necessarily enhance quality of life.

Full talk
ID: 708 / 331R: 3
331R Land transformations through Food-Land-Energy-Water (FLEW) nexus approaches: lessons learned and key gaps
Keywords: Co-production, social-ecological-technological systems, Food Energy Water Systems, FEWS, Stakeholder Engagement

Co-production of knowledge at the nexus of Food-Energy-Water systems of Magic Valley, Idah

David LaMond Griffith1, Grace Villamor1, Andrew Kliskey1, Lilian Alessa1, Dan Cronan1, Jamie Trammel2

1University of Idaho, United States of America; 2Southern Oregon University, United States of America

The Magic Valley region of southern Idaho, United States is a complex Food, Energy, Water (FEW) system in which crop farmers, dairy farmers, beef cattle producers, aquaculture facilities, utility companies, and rural and urban residents compete for water and land. The arid region is characterized by a limited amount of prime agricultural land, is resource limited by water availability, is accumulating nutrients in some agricultural soils, has significant nutrient runoff into water bodies, and has a growing urban population, all of which stress the resilience of the social-ecological-technological system (SETS). The INFEWS/T3 project “Social-ecological-technological solutions to waste reuse in food, energy, and water systems (ReFEWS)” is a collaborative, multi-institutional, multidisciplinary research project funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation focused on identifying waste management issues and proposing systems-level solutions to those issues. When designing the project, the research team imagined that the set of potential solutions would primarily involve finding optimal configurations of water and waste-management technologies; however, the Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG) assembled for the project requested that we focus on different issues and solutions. This resulted in a complete reframing of the research approach for the project.

In this session, we will describe the stakeholder engagement approaches we have taken on the ReFEWS project and describe how that has resulted in co-production of knowledge for the Magic Valley FEW system. We built the SAG using snowballing and systematic selection methods for stakeholder identification, and reached out to crop and dairy farmers, aquaculture operations, food processors, municipalities, and NGOs. The SAG has worked with the research team to build an agent-based model, ground-truth hydrological models, and construct future scenarios. These activities have resulted in a shift in focus away from technological intervention and towards changes in policy and cooperation strategies as possible “best” solutions.

Flash talk
ID: 798 / 331R: 4
331R Land transformations through Food-Land-Energy-Water (FLEW) nexus approaches: lessons learned and key gaps
Keywords: wicket problem, socio-ecological system, governance structure, attitudes, integrated approach

The emergence of wicked problems in managing the land – water - energy nexus: addressing governance and attitude mismatches to ensure the long-term delivery of ecosystem services

Kinga Krauze1, Patrick Bourgeron2

1ERCE PAS, Poland; 2University of Colorado at Boulder, USA

This presentation explores the implications of linkages between land use, climate change, and human behavior and outcomes on the land-water-energy nexus, as well as the mismatches between among the ecological, social and governance realms. In essence, we cast the dynamic processes and interactions among the three domains of this nexus in terms of a “wicked problem” created by uncertainty about future environmental conditions, differences in social values and conflicting governance structures that make it virtually impossible to define an optimal condition. In this context, the wicked problem resides in whether or not secondary problems may be created by any policy that leads to local environmental solutions to the impact of land use, climate change, and water management on ecosystem services (and their generally positive outcomes for society at national and global levels), as a result of societal linkages to these changes. Land, energy, and water policy interactions and their cross-scale and temporal dependencies have significant impacts on the dynamics of social-ecological systems and the delivery of ecosystem services. The presentation outlines a pathway to potential solutions as a logical sequence of steps with incremental increases in complexity. The conclusion discusses needs for integrated approaches that decision-makers can use to examine the changes that particular policies can induce in the land-water-energy nexus, along with the resulting implications for social-ecological systems, ecosystem services and governance structures.

Flash talk
ID: 525 / 331R: 5
333R Mapping land system through coupling the biophysical and socioeconomic attributes based on remote sensing and big data approaches
Keywords: Land cover, Runoff, Yarlung Tsangpo River Basin, Tibetan Plateau

Impacts of land cover change on runoff in the middle reaches of the Yarlung Tsangpo River Basin

Rui Wang, Zhijun Yao

Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China, People's Republic of

Runoff of the Yarlung Tsangpo River Basin on the Tibetan Plateau (TP) is an important indicator for regional climate change and geographical environment evolution. However, there are few studies for response of runoff to land cover change at this large river system, because the field observations and investigations on the TP are very difficult. This study is carried out in the middle reaches region of the Yarlung Tsangpo River. Combining data from remote sensing and field surveys, the dynamics of the major hydrological components such as runoff and surface evapotranspiration were simulated by SWAT model. Then, the mechanism for impact of individual land cover types on changes of hydrology were identified and quantified. The results indicated that at the sub-basin scale, the change rates of total runoff between different land cover scenarios are raised to -4.53-5.63% from 0.03-0.06% which is the average change rate of the whole region. Moreover, the runoff regime of individual land cover and the effect of change for individual land cover on hydrological components can be identified at the hydrological response units (HRUs) scale. It benefits to explain the mechanism reasons for land cover change impacting runoff.

Full talk
ID: 406 / 331R: 6
107R Assessing, modelling, and analysing land use and land management impacts on the Earth system
Keywords: Land use; farm management; urbanization; food security; efficiency

Attributing trends in the environmental intensity of China's crop production

Lijun Zuo1, Zengxiang Zhang1, Kimberly Carlson2, Kate Brauman3, Graham MacDonald4, Yingchun Liu5, Wen Zhang6, Huayong Zhang7, Wenbin Wu8, Xiaoli Zhao1, Feifei Sun2, James Gerber3, Paul West3

1Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, CAS, China, People's Republic of; 2Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management, University of Hawai’i; 3Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota; 4Department of Geography, McGill University; 5Academy of Forestry Inventory and Planning, State Forestry Administration; 6LAPC, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences; 7Research Center for Engineering Ecology and Nonlinear Science, North China Electric Power University; 8Key Laboratory of Agri-informatics, Ministry of Agriculture/Institute of Agricultural Resources and Regional Planning

China is experiencing rapid land-use change and shifts in farm management. However, the interactive effects of these drivers on cropping system sustainability are unclear. We evaluate spatiotemporal tradeoffs among crop production, land use, water consumption, excess nitrogen and phosphorous use, as well as greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in China at three time-points (1987, 2000, and 2010). We attribute decadal changes in these indicators to either farm management or land-use change. Results indicate that from 1987 to 2010, crop kilocalorie production increased by 66%, while all environmental indicators increased by 1.3% to 161%, except GHG emissions (-18%). However, environmental intensity (impact per kilocalorie of production) decreased for all indicators (-13% to -50%) except excess phosphorus use (57%). Counterfactual scenario analysis indicates that farm management changes were the main driver of national environmental impact and intensity trends, explaining >90% of these changes. However, nationwide losses of fertile cropland to urban expansion were offset by cropland expansion in arid and low-productivity northern regions, where land and irrigation water intensity were 51% and 45% higher than the national average in 2010. China must develop policies to address growing challenges, including water stress in northern arid regions, fertilizer use in the North China and Northeast plains, and production losses due to urbanization. Our findings warrant further attention to interactions between land-use change and cropland management on crop productivity and multiple environmental impacts in other rapidly urbanizing regions.