Chapter 16: The role of land in the water-energy-food nexus
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For centuries, land has been manipulated to grow crops for food, dammed for water storage, or mined for coal and oil. Understanding the role of land in the water, energy and food systems is hence imperative to achieve synergy and avoid trade-offs among the three. In this chapter, the nexus of land use with each of the water-energy-food components is described, using a case study as illustrative examples to better understand how land is intrinsically interwoven with food production, energy sources, and water management. A review and analysis of previous studies revealed that land resources have traditionally been managed to achieve a solo purpose of food, energy, or water, causing trade-offs. Emerging literature suggests considering land as an integral part of the water-energy-food system and accounting for the spatial heterogeneity within a watershed scale as a necessity. Further, climate change has exacerbated competition and trade-offs among water-energy-food sectors, but proper management of land resources could mitigate these challenges and achieve synergy.

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