The Effects of Chinese Dietary Trends on Global and Local Land Use
Monday, 14 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Global land scarcity is a major concern, which, due to climate change, lifestyle changes, and population growth, will only continue to worsen. It is a major driver of global environmental degradation, famine, and sociopolitical conflicts. With some 33% of the world’s dwindling supply of arable land dedicated to grossly inefficient animal husbandry or animal feed production, it is easy to see that dietary consumption patterns play an important role. Although population growth in East Asia has stagnated, changing dietary trends mean that China is now the world’s largest consumers of meat, consuming 25% of global meat production, despite having less than half of the American per capita equivalent. This paper assesses changing dietary consumption patterns of Taiwan, whose current per capita meat consumption surpasses all other East Asian countries, over the past 30 years and considers the relationship this has had on overall land consumption. We then consider dietary trends of Mainland China, which shares a common cultural heritage and whose current Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) is similar to Taiwanese PPP levels in 1985. Finally we retrospectively project three alternative Taiwanese consumption patterns over the past 30 years, consider the effect of each scenario on per capita land consumption, and finally consider these results in terms of culturally analogues Mainland China.