Land use change impacts of biofuels: Near-VAR evidence from the US
The present paper studies the land use change impacts of fuels and biofuels. We test the theoretical hypothesis, which says that changes in fuel prices cause changes in land use both directly and indirectly and that, because of price inter-dependencies, biofuels reinforce the land use change impacts. We apply time-series analytical mechanisms to five major traded agricultural commodities, the cultivated area of agricultural land and crude oil price. Our data consists of yearly observations extending from 1950 to 2007 for the US. The empirical findings confirm that markets for crude oil and cultivated agricultural land are interdependent: an increase in oil price by 1dollar/barrel increases land use between 54,000 and 68,000ha. We also find that the increase of bioenergy sector accelerates land use change in the US, i.e. food commodities are being substituted for bioenergy crops.
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