The Steady Increase of Global Agricultural Land Use by Cédric Scherer Data Visualization Design

​The Sankey-bump chart visualises the global agricultural land use by regions and consequently the increasing impact of us humans reflecting the rising population figures over the last decades and centuries.

Agriculture, namely arable farming and grazing, is a major use of land: Half of the world’s habitable land is used for agriculture. ​The e​xtensive land use has a major impact on the earth’s environment as it reduces wilderness and threatens biodiversity. According to the History Database of the Global Environment, for centuries the total amount of agricultural land was below 0.25 Billion hectares and mainly located in India, Europe, and China. Over the last few centuries, this has changed dramatically: wild habitats have been squeezed out by turning it into agricultural land, now covering more than six times the area of agricultural land before 1600.

The Sankey-bump chart ranks the regions by the area used for agriculture and thus allows for both, a visualization of the general trends and the identification of the group having the largest area/ share.

The region aggregation is based on the sorting used in the OurWorldInData source (e.g. Mexico is included in "Latin America and the Caribbean" and Russia is considered European).​

This visualization was created as a personal contribution to the first #30DayChartChallenge in April 2021 and was created in R with ggplot2, with a few adjustments done in Figma. The code and images for all versions are publicly available on GitHub.