Research press release


Nature Communications

Environment: Changes in global land use four times higher than previously thought

1960〜2019年に世界の陸地表面のほぼ3分の1に相当する土地の利用が変化していたことを報告する論文が、Nature Communications に掲載される。この知見は、土地利用の変化の規模が従来の推定の約4倍だったことを示している。


今回、Karina Winklerたちの研究チームは、Historic Land Dynamics Assessment+(HILDA+)というモデルを構築し、1960~2019年の土地利用変化を評価した。個々の土地利用の変化(複数回の変化があった場合を含む)を集計した結果、この期間中に4300万平方キロメートルの土地(世界の陸地表面の32%に相当)の利用が変化したことが明らかになった。Winklerたちは、1960年以降は毎年、平均してドイツの国土面積の2倍に相当する土地の利用が変わったと推定している。



An area of land equivalent to almost one third of the global land surface has changed use between 1960–2019, reports a study in Nature Communications. The finding is nearly four times greater than previous estimates.

Quantifying changes in land use (for example, as a result of agriculture, deforestation or afforestation) is critical for being able to tackle challenges such as food security, climate change and biodiversity loss. However, understanding the changes that have taken place is limited by a lack of comprehensive data and uncertainties in existing reconstructions.

Karina Winkler and colleagues developed a model called the Historic Land Dynamics Assessment+ to assess changes in land use from 1960 to 2019. The authors found that when all individual change events (including areas of multiple change) were totalled, 43 million km2 of land has changed use over this period (corresponding to 32% of the global land surface). They estimate that, on average, an area of land twice the size of Germany has changed use every year since 1960.

In addition, the authors’ analysis identified that there has been a global net loss of forest area of 0.8 million km2, whereas croplands and pastures have expanded by 1.0 and 0.9 million km2, respectively. Afforestation and cropland abandonment has increased in the Global North, but deforestation and agricultural expansion have risen in the Global South over the period.

The authors conclude that their model can contribute to a better understanding of the environmental impacts of land use change, and improve assessments of land use strategies in support of policies such as the Paris Climate targets and the Sustainable Development Goals.

After the embargo ends, the full paper will be available at:

doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-22702-2

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