Posted on Mon 14 August 2023 in Projects

About the Project

Land integrated modelling for net Zero emissions, Nutrient efficiency and Ecosystem Services (LandingZoNES) is a multidisciplinary research project funded by Ireland’s Environmental Protection Agency. It is managed by internationally respected researchers at the cutting edge of environmental and econometric modelling, and builds directly on the academic excellence, innovative modelling frameworks, and policy impact of recent projects such as SeQUEsTER and WaterMARKE.

Meeting ambitious climate action targets, in particular “net-zero” GHG emissions by 2050, implies transformative change for food production and the wider land sector. Recent research in the SeQUEsTER project has highlighted that net-zero can only be achieved through concerted action across agriculture, forestry and organic soils1. Furthermore, a net-zero GHG emission balance is only likely to be sustained through ongoing forestry expansion, or cascading uses of wood culminating in bioenergy carbon capture & storage in the future2. But the agriculture sector will also need to reduce nutrient leakage to air and water whilst delivering a wider range of ecosystem services and food in the face of a changing climate. There is an urgent need for robust and independent evidence to inform how this multifaceted challenge can be delivered. Producing such evidence will require integration of economic, biophysical and catchment modelling frameworks and metrics.

LandingZoNES will develop an Integrated Land Use Model for Ireland that enables policy makers, researchers and industry stakeholders to consider the overall sustainability of alternative land use planning scenarios – identifying appropriate long-term “landing zones” for policy pertaining to agriculture, land use and the bioeconomy. Whilst ambitious and challenging, this objective is achievable because key components of the model have been developed through recently funded projects. The starting point will be the state-of-the-art biophysical land use emission model “GOBLIN” and the Input-Output model of the bioeconomy “BIO”. Specific model development will include:

· Inclusion of technical abatement coefficients, cascading uses of harvested wood and bioenergy in the GOBLIN model to refine identification of net-zero GHG land configurations

· Recalibration of the BIO model with latest economic data to estimate macro-economic effects of (net zero GHG) land use scenarios, including consequences in downstream sectors

· Coupling of GOBLIN & BIO with farm-level economics and spatial data to estimate regional- and catchment-level distributions of land use changes