Global land use of diets in a small island community: a case study of Palau in the Pacific

Modern dietary habits in communities are linked and are part of the global food supply chain. To achieve sustainable food production and consumption, communicating the impact associated with food production and dietary choices at community level to consumers is important. However, previous footprint studies have primarily focussed on food consumption at the national level and neglected community–level consumption activities. This study surveyed the diets of a small island community and linked the results with multi-region land footprint analysis in Ollei Village, Republic of Palau. The analysis was used to determine the extent to which the dietary lifestyles of communities depend on external land use through the global supply chain. We showed that the global food supply chain has reached this corner of the world, and the dietary habits of the community are already heavily dependent on processed and imported foods. The community and country are highly dependent on large land use in some major producer/exporting countries through the global food supply chain. In addition, the amount of external land used for food production exceeds the biocapacity of the agricultural land in the community and country. This study bridges the gap between community–level consumption activities and national-scale footprint analysis, and quantitatively assesses the impact of consumption activities at the community level on the global environment. The results and approach of this study could contribute to the development and implementation of vertically integrated food policies between the national and community level in Palau.

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