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Latest publications

Here you can find links to the most recent papers we published, the best way to keep yourself posted with what we’ve been doing lately! Click on the article title to get to the article page. If you are interested in some of the papers but can’t get to the full version, do not hesitate in contacting us.

A Blue Water Scarcity-Based Method for Hydrologically Sustainable Agricultural Expansion Design

Nikolas Galli, Davide Danilo Chiarelli, Livia Ricciardi, Maria Cristina Rulli, Water Resources Research

How can we prevent waterscarcity not only from happening, but also from propagating downstream? We have found a way to do it, by rewinding the propagation chain of water scarcity. In this study, we simulate water scarcity before and after agricultural expansion, and gradually reduce the expansion to find the areas where it can be hydrologically sustainable.

Exploring the water–food nexus reveals the interlinkages with urban human conflicts in Central America

Martina Sardo, Ilenia Epifani, Paolo D’Odorico, Nikolas Galli, Maria Cristina Rulli, Nature Water

Extreme water events have been shown to affect human security in many ways. For the first time, in our study we explicitly consider food security as a central mechanism in the chain linking drought-induced water shortage and conflict. We also analyze how the internal food trade can influence the level of food security from food-producing areas to food-consuming areas, such as cities.

Hydrological implications of large-scale afforestation in tropical biomes for climate change mitigation

Livia Ricciardi, Paolo D’Odorico, Nikolas Galli, Davide Danilo Chiarelli, Maria Cristina Rulli, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B

Rising interest in large-scale afforestation for climate change mitigation has motivated research efforts aiming at the identification of suitable areas for planting trees. An often-overlooked aspect of agroforestry projects is their impact on water resources. We find that planting trees will substantially increase water scarcity and possible dispossession (green water grab) especially in dryland regions.

Socio-hydrological features of armed conflicts in the Lake Chad Basin

Nikolas Galli, Jampel Dell’Angelo, Ilenia Epifani, Davide Danilo Chiarelli, Maria Cristina Rulli, Nature Sustainability

Popular conceptions of ‘water wars’ can lead to fears that water scarcity and water demand invariably lead to conflict over water resources. We examine a range of biophysical factors interconnecting with the socio-political context of the Lake Chad region of Africa and find that water does not lead directly to armed conflict but that it can increase complex tensions to prolong or escalate violence.

Competition for water induced by transnational land acquisitions for agriculture

Davide Danilo Chiarelli, Paolo D’Odorico, Marc F. Müller, Nathaniel D. Mueller, Kyle Frankel Davis, Jampel Dell’Angelo, Gopal Penny, Maria Cristina Rulli, Nature Communications

The transition from smallholder farming to large-scale commercial agriculture promoted by transnational large-scale land acquisitions (LSLAs) often aims to increase crop yields through the expansion of irrigation. While blue water scarcity existed prior to land acquisitions, these deals exacerbate blue water scarcity through water-intensive crops and more irrigated cultivation. Combined with our findings that investors target land with preferential access to surface and groundwater resources to support irrigation, this suggests that LSLAs often appropriate water resources to the detriment of local users.

Global assessment of natural resources for chicken production

Camilla Govoni, Davide Danilo Chiarelli, Alice Luciano, Matteo Ottoboni, Simge Nur Perpelek, Luciano Pinotti, Maria Cristina Rulli, Advances in Water Resources

Meat consumption is expected to grow in the next future and the poultry sector will have the highest increase. We evaluate the global demand for poultry feed and the domestic availability in the top 10 producing countries, as well as the rest of the world, and we assess the natural resources needed for the production of this feed. In 2016, to support the poultry feed production, 49 million hectares of cereal fields and 64 million hectares of oilseeds fields were required and at least 52 km3 of blue water consumed.