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Changing environmental characteristics of European cropland

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  • Bakker, M.M.
  • Hatna, E.
  • Kuhlman, T.
  • Mücher, C.A.

Abstract

The spatial configuration of agricultural systems is continuously changing in response to changes in demand for agricultural goods, changes in the level of competition between different land use activities, and progress in agricultural technology. This may lead to a change in the location of agricultural systems and consequently to a change in their average environmental characteristics. This paper explores the change in environmental characteristics of cropland (horticulture and field crops) over the years 1950, 1990 and 2000, for Western and Eastern Europe, using basic descriptive statistics. Underlying mechanisms are explored with logistic (interaction) regression analysis. We find that in both Eastern and Western Europe, crop cultivation shifted away from cities. In Western Europe cropland became situated on shallower soils, steeper slopes, and drier and less accessible areas. Probable reasons are that technical progress reduced the importance of traditional constraints such as drought, poor soils, and distance from markets, so that crop farmers were allowed to move to warm and sunny areas where potential productivity is highest. In addition, cropland probably lost some of its competitive power to grassland and nature. In Eastern Europe cropland concentrated on deeper soils and flatter terrain from 1990 onward. Here, the abandonment of the central planning system and a more flexible land market must have allowed a shift of cropland towards more suitable locations.

Suggested Citation

  • Bakker, M.M. & Hatna, E. & Kuhlman, T. & Mücher, C.A., 2011. "Changing environmental characteristics of European cropland," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 104(7), pages 522-532, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:agisys:v:104:y:2011:i:7:p:522-532
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Eric Koomen & Tom Kuhlman & Jan Groen & Arno Bouwman, 2005. "Simulating The Future Of Agricultural Land Use In The Netherlands," Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG, vol. 96(2), pages 218-224, April.
    2. Paul Cheshire & Edward Malecki, 2003. "Growth, development, and innovation: A look backward and forward," Economics of Governance, Springer, pages 249-267.
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    5. Fujita,Masahisa, 1991. "Urban Economic Theory," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521396455, November.
    6. Edward Glaeser & Janet Kohlhase, 2003. "Cities, regions and the decline of transport costs," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 83(1), pages 197-228, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Müller, Daniel & Leitão, Pedro J. & Sikor, Thomas, 2013. "Comparing the determinants of cropland abandonment in Albania and Romania using boosted regression trees," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, pages 66-77.
    2. Chris Jacobs-Crisioni & Vasco Diogo & Carolina Perpina Castillo & Claudia Baranzelli & Filipe Batista e Silva & Konstantin Rosina & Boyan Kavalov & Carlo Lavalle, 2017. "The LUISA Territorial Reference Scenario 2017: A technical description," JRC Working Papers JRC108163, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    3. Su, Shiliang & Hu, Yi’na & Luo, Fanghan & Mai, Gengchen & Wang, Yaping, 2014. "Farmland fragmentation due to anthropogenic activity in rapidly developing region," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, pages 87-93.
    4. Diogo, V. & Koomen, E. & Kuhlman, T., 2015. "An economic theory-based explanatory model of agricultural land-use patterns: The Netherlands as a case study," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, pages 1-16.

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