Projecting the effect of crop yield increases, dietary change and different price scenarios on land use under two different state security regimes

James A. Reilly*, Terence P. Dawson, Robin B. Matthews, Pete Smith, Corran C. Musk, Jacqueline M. Potts, J. Gareth Polhill

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using an Agent-Based Model with a two-scale decision making process incorporating economic, geographic, social and political subsystems, we projected the rate and proportion of land use change in England and Wales from the year 2000 to the year 2050. These projections were used to assess the impact of proposals to improve arable yields, change diet and reduce consumer waste under two contrasting political ideologies, protectionist or free trade, on the proportions and rate of change of agricultural land use. The model does not calculate what is possible to achieve but what is probable, given the simulated processes, which are based on landowner satisficing behaviour and government political ideologies. Our main finding is that protectionist policies produced the least change. We also found that arable crop yield improvements, dietary change and waste reduction promoted pasture over arable use because these drivers reduced arable income on marginal arable land. The proportion of land in private and farm-forestry, a land use proposed as a greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation measure, reduced, when private and farm-forestry was not a protected use and when there were no incentives to plant or maintain trees.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Agricultural Sustainability
Early online date10 Apr 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Apr 2021


  • Agent-based model
  • land use change
  • England and Wales

Cite this