Global land-use change hidden behind nickel consumption

Kenichi Nakajima, Keisuke Nansai, Kazuyo Matsubae, Makoto Tomita, Wataru Takayanagi, Tetsuya Nagasaka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Economic growth is associated with a rapid rise in the use of natural resources within the economy, and has potential environmental impacts at local and/or global scales. In today's globalized economy, each country has indirect flows supporting its economic activities, and natural resource consumption through supply chains influences environmental impacts far removed from the place of consumption. One way to control environmental impacts associated with consumption of natural resources is to identify the consumption of natural resources and the associated environmental impacts through the global supply chain. In this study, we used a global link input–output model (GLIO, a hybrid multiregional input–output model) to detect the linkages between national nickel consumption and mining-associated global land-use changes. We focused on nickel, whose global demand has risen rapidly in recent years, as a case study. The estimated area of land-use change around the world caused by nickel mining in 2005 was 1.9 km2, and that induced by Japanese final demand for nickel was 0.38 km2. Our modeling also revealed that the areas of greatest land-use change associated with nickel mining were concentrated in only a few countries and regions far removed from the place of consumption. For example, 57.7% of the world's land-use changes caused by nickel mining were concentrated in five countries in 2005: Australia, 13.7%; Russia, 12.9%; Indonesia, 12.5%; New Caledonia, 10.4%; and Colombia, 8.2%. The mining-associated land-use change induced by Japanese final demand accounted for 19.5% of the total area affected by land-use change caused by nickel mining. The top three countries accounted for 70.6% (Indonesia: 47.0%, New Caledonia: 16.0%, and Australia: 7.7%), and the top five accounted for 82.4% (the Philippines: 7.5%, and Canada: 4.3%, in addition to the top three countries and regions).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)730-737
Number of pages8
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2017 May 15


  • Global supply chain
  • Input-output analysis
  • Land-use change
  • Material flow analysis (MFA)
  • Mining
  • Nickel


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