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Towards a Definition of Global Sustainable Land Use?

Towards a Definition of Global Sustainable Land Use?

A discussion on theory, concepts and implications for governance
Global sustainable land use serves the needs of all human beings, respecting the boundaries and the resilience of ecological systems.

In this discussion paper Timo Kaphengst from Ecologic Institute approaches the question of how sustainable land use can be defined at a global scale. The paper thereby contributes to the concept of sustainable land use governance currently developed in the GLOBALANDS project. The discussion paper is available for download.

The discussion paper is an attempt to frame a definition of a "sustainable land use" in a pragmatic way. The paper starts with a short overview on prevalent sustainability theories, discussing "the battle" between a strong and a weak concept of sustainability and explaining the role of "natural capital" and "reproduction" in the context of land use.

After that, some of the few concepts on sustainable land use are presented and discussed in the context of their applicability for the purpose of a wider governance framework on sustainable land use. Where possible, the discussion reveals, whether these concepts could be subordinated either under the strong or rather the weak sustainability concept. The paper ends with some concluding remarks on crucial components of sustainable land use at global scale and offers a brief definition for further discussion:

"A  global  sustainable  land  use  serves  the  needs  (for  food,  energy,  housing, recreation  etc.)  of  all  human  beings  living  on  earth  today  and  in  the  future,  respecting  the  boundaries  and  the  resilience  of  ecological  systems"


Kaphengst, Timo (2014): Towards a definition of global sustainable land use? A discussion on theory, concepts and implications for governance. Discussion paper produced within the research project "GLOBALANDS - Global Land Use and Sustainability". Online available at: http://www.ecologic.eu/globalands/about

14 pp.
Project ID
2367, 2393
Table of Contents
  • Introduction
  • Sustainability theory and the implications to land use
  • Finding major components for a concept of sustainable land use
  • Towards a framework for a global sustainable land use
  • Concluding remarks
sustainable land, governance, GLOBALANDS, sustainability theories, natural capital, reproduction,