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Earth System Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
22 Nov 2016
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Earth System Dynamics (ESD).
Future supply and demand of net primary production in the Sahel
Florian Sallaba, Stefan Olin, Kerstin Engström, Abdulahakim M. Abdi, Niklas Boke-Olén, Veiko Lehsten, Jonas Ardö, and Jonathan W. Seaquist Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science, Lund University, Lund, 22362, Sweden
Abstract. In the 21st century, climate change in combination with increasing demand, mainly from population growth, will exert greater pressure on the ecosystems of the Sahel to supply food and feed resources. The balance between supply and demand (annual biomass required for human consumption) serves as a key metric for quantifying basic resource shortfalls over broad regions.

Here we apply an exploratory modelling framework to analyze the variations in the timing and geography of different NPP (net primary production) supply-demand scenarios (with distinct assumptions determining supply and demand) for the 21st century Sahel. We achieve this by coupling a simple NPP supply model (forced with projections from four representative concentration pathways) with a global, reduced-complexity demand model (driven by socio-economic data and assumptions derived from five shared socio-economic pathways).

For the scenario that deviates least from current socio-economic and climate trends, we find that per capita NPP outstrips its supply in the 2070s, while by 2050, half the countries in the Sahel experience NPP shortfalls. We also find that despite variations in the timing of the onset of NPP shortfalls, demand cannot consistently be met across the majority of scenarios. Moreover, large between-country variations are shown across the scenarios where by the year 2050, some countries consistently experience shortage, others surplus while yet others shift from surplus to shortage. At the local level (i.e. grid cell) hotspots of total NPP shortfall consistently occur in the same locations across all scenarios, but vary in size and magnitude. These hotspots are linked to population density and high demand. For all scenarios, total simulated NPP supply doubles by 2050 but is outpaced by increasing demand due to a combination of population growth and adoption of a diets rich in animal products. Finally, variations in the timing of onset and end of supply shortfalls stem from the assumptions that underpin the shared socio-economic pathways rather than the representative concentration pathways.

Our results suggest that the UN sustainable development goals for eradicating hunger are at high risk for failure. This emphasizes the importance of policy interventions such as the implementation of sustainable and healthy diets, family planning, reducing yield gaps, and encouraging transfer of resources to impoverished areas via trade relations.

Citation: Sallaba, F., Olin, S., Engström, K., Abdi, A. M., Boke-Olén, N., Lehsten, V., Ardö, J., and Seaquist, J. W.: Future supply and demand of net primary production in the Sahel, Earth Syst. Dynam. Discuss.,, in review, 2016.
Florian Sallaba et al.
Florian Sallaba et al.
Florian Sallaba et al.


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