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historical carbon dioxide emissions caused by land-use changes are possibly larger than assumedThe terrestrial biosphere absorbs about 20% of fossil-fuel CO2 emissions. The overall magnitude of this sink is constrained by the difference between emissions, the rate of increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations, and the ocean sink. However, the land sink is actually composed of two largely counteracting fluxes that are poorly quantified: fluxes from land-use change andCO2 uptake by terrestrial ecosystems. Dynamic global vegetation model simulations suggest that CO2 emissions from land-use change have been substantially underestimated because processes such as tree harvesting and land clearing from shifting cultivation have not been considered. As the overall terrestrial sink is constrained, a larger net flux as a result of land-use change implies that terrestrial uptake of CO2 is also larger, and that terrestrial ecosystems might have greater potential to sequester carbon in the future. Consequently, reforestation projects and efforts to avoid further deforestation could represent important mitigation pathways, with co-benefits for biodiversity. It is unclear whether a larger land carbon sink can be reconciled with our current understanding of terrestrial carbon cycling. Our possible underestimation of the historical residual terrestrial carbon sink adds further uncertainty to our capacity to predict the future of terrestrial carbon uptake and losses.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Arneth, A.
(Karlsruhe Inst. of Technology Germany)
Sitch, S.
(Exeter Univ. United Kingdom)
Pongratz, J.
(Max-Planck-Inst. fuer Meteorologie Hamburg, Germany)
Stocker, B. D.
(Imperial Coll. of London London, United Kingdom)
Ciais, P.
(Institut Pierre-Simon Laplace (IPSL) France)
Poulter, B.
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD United States)
Bayer, A. D.
(Karlsruhe Inst. of Technology Germany)
Bondeau, A.
(Aix-Marseille Univ. Marseille, France)
Calle, L.
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD United States)
Chini, L. P.
(Maryland Univ. College Park, MD, United States)
Gasser, T.
(Institut Pierre-Simon Laplace (IPSL) France)
Fader, M.
(International Centre for Water Resources and Global Change (UNESCO) Koblenz, Germany)
Friedlingstein, P.
(Exeter Univ. United Kingdom)
Kato, E.
(Institute of Applied Energy Tokyo, Japan)
Li, W.
(Institut Pierre-Simon Laplace (IPSL) France)
Lindeskog, M.
(Lund Univ. Sweden)
Nabel, J. E. M. S.
(Max-Planck-Inst. fuer Meteorologie Hamburg, Germany)
Pugh, T. A. M.
(Birmingham Univ. United Kingdom)
Robertson, E.
(MET Office (Meteorological Office) Exeter, United Kingdom)
Viovy, N.
(Institut Pierre-Simon Laplace (IPSL) France)
Yue, C.
(Institut Pierre-Simon Laplace (IPSL) France)
Zaehle, S.
(Max-Planck Inst. for Biogeochemistry Jena, Germany)
Date Acquired
September 5, 2017
Publication Date
January 30, 2017
Publication Information
Volume: 10
ISSN: 1752-0894
Subject Category
Environment Pollution
Report/Patent Number
Distribution Limits