Distinguishing anthropogenic and natural contributions to coproduction of national crop yields globally

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Crop production is a crucial ecosystem service that requires a combination of natural and anthropogenic contributions to high and stable yields, which is a coproduction process. We analysed this coproduction based on nationally aggregated data for 15 major crops for 67 countries and the European Union with data for four time steps (2000, 2006, 2010, 2014). We found strong increases in fertilizer use, net capital stock and manure use intensity for lower-middle-income countries and stagnation or decrease of these for high-income countries. We used a multiple linear regression model predicting yield to distinguish the effect of anthropogenic contributions (crop-specific fertilizer use intensity, net capital stock intensity, manure use intensity) and natural contributions (crop-specific agricultural suitability, including soil characteristics, topography and climate). We found that in particular fertilizer use intensity, manure use intensity and agricultural suitability explained variation in yields to a considerable degree (R2 = 0.62).

Original languageEnglish
Article number10821
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 01.12.2021
Externally publishedYes