Calculating greenhouse gas emissions from land use change
Deforestation is one of the major issues facing the global agriculture production system, with as much as 8% of global CO2 emissions attributable to land-use change. A well-known example is deforestation to cultivate crops such as soybean and oil palm. Many studies have focused on this issue and have provided global or country-specific estimations of CO2 emissions due to land-use change based on available statistics or satellite imagery.
A big challenge for Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) researchers is translating this impact of land-use change to specific crops from specific countries while little primary data is available. We specifically designed our LUC Impact Tool to address this challenge.
Based on recognized methodology
This tool is based on the PAS2050 and specifically the PAS2050-1 framework. The basic methodology of this framework is now widely referenced and applied.
After publishing the first version in 2014, we updated the tool almost every year. With every update, we add the most recent data and methodological updates.
Complementary training available
We offer our Land Use Change training to anyone who would like to learn more about Land Use Change accounting and its methodologies
The LUC Impact tool
We developed the Land Use Change Impact tool according to the PAS2050-1 guidelines. It draws on the most recent FAO country-level data on cropland, forest, and grassland expansion and decline. Furthermore, it includes new estimations of biomass carbon stock in forests from the Forest Resource Assessment 2020. Finally, soil carbon stock factors align with the IPCC's National Greenhouse Gas Inventories guidelines, last updated in 2019.
LUC Impact is an Excel-based tool that provides a predefined way of calculating GHG emissions from LUC. This tool offers insight into the land transformation and associated emissions related to the cultivation of a specific country and crop combination. The LUC Impact tool can define LUC when the previous land use is known or unknown. If the country of cultivation is also unknown, the tool can calculate the average GHG emissions connected to LUC for a selected crop. This way, the tool has three functionalities based on the amount of information available to the user. The tool also lets users select specific land management practices that influence soil organic carbon content, such as tillage level and organic input level, to represent the specific cultivation system's carbon stock accurately.
In the update description, you can find more information on the tool's functionalities, the latest updates, and an overview of key crops and changes in LUC emissions.
The PAS2050-1 is the most important methodology document that applies to the tool
We also have a single dataset available for licensing. This dataset includes all possible crop-country combinations for the tool's functionality in which the country is known, but the previous land use is not.
It is available for a licensing fee of €250 (excl. VAT).
If you wish to integrate the data into your commercial tool, please contact us to request a special license.
Training Land Use Change Accounting
The Land Use Change (LUC) Accounting training is a 4-hour, interactive session around the topic of Land Use Change and how we can adequately account for it. The training offers you context, background information, and critical perspectives on the methodological choices and challenges related to LUC accounting.
Our Land Use Change Expert
Lisanne de Weert
Lisanne graduated in Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Design. At Blonk, she works on projects relating to sustainable nutrition assessment and food and biobased LCAs. She also works on developing carbon footprint tools and automated LCAs. Lisanne is our internal expert on Land Use Change accounting, contributing to updating the LUC Impact tool annually and facilitating our LUC accounting training.
LCA database for plant-based ingredients for Pulse Canada
With the help of the new LUC Impact tool, Blonk Consultants has developed a new LCA database for plant-based ingredients for Pulse Canada, the Industry Association for Canadian pulse growers and exporters. The database combines country-specific datasets of common pulses, such as soybean and peas, with regionalized datasets. We used the recently updated LUC Impact tool to include the CO2 emissions equivalent related to land-use change. The tool enabled us to calculate the emissions and removal of greenhouse gases caused by land-use conversion, specifically for growing soybeans and peas in particular geographical areas. In addition, it was possible to account for the influence of different tillage practices on carbon stocks and the resulting CO2 emissions equivalent.
Get in touch
Please get in touch with Megan if you would like to learn more about the LUC Impact tool and its applications or if you are interested in a license.