Worldwide Sustainability Hotspots in Potato Cultivation. 1. Identification and Mapping

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Potato and its derivatives increasingly become globally traded products. Commercial companies more and more want to quantify the environmental footprints such as the efficiency of the use of land and water, greenhouse gas emissions, and the risks of eutrophication and contamination of the environment with pesticides. From various sources, global maps with grid cells of circa 8,600 ha (near the equator) were drawn representing potato-harvested area, potato fresh tuber yield (land use efficiency), slopes (risks of erosion), precipitation deficit (risks of depletion of fresh water resources through irrigation), and average daily maximum temperature throughout the season (risks of occurrence of pest epidemics and emission of pesticides). Hotspots for erosion are the slopes of the mountains in the Andes, African Rift, Southern China and volcanic areas in southern China, and the island countries in Southeast Asia. Fresh water availability may become limited in the East of North America, northern India, and China. Risks of insects are increased in continental hot summer climates and short spring crops with high temperatures towards harvest. Late blight is a threat in all humid areas such as maritime Europe, equatorial tropical highlands, and the humid western Pacific Ring. The examples discussed in this paper can be elaborated for more soil and weather-related factors such as acidity and salinity and heat waves or torrential rains. Sustainable long-term and long-range sourcing is deliberated as well as repercussions of trends such as globalization and climate change; the latter being relative favorable for the root and tuber crop potato compared to grain crops
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-353
JournalPotato Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • climate-change
  • yield

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