Help Privacy Policy Disclaimer
  Advanced SearchBrowse




Journal Article

Modelled land use and land cover change emissions - A spatio-temporal comparison of different approaches


Nabel,  Julia E. M. S.       
Emmy Noether Junior Research Group Forest Management in the Earth System, The Land in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

Bastos,  Ana
Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;

Zaehle,  Soenke
Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;

External Resource
No external resources are shared
Fulltext (restricted access)
There are currently no full texts shared for your IP range.
Fulltext (public)

(Publisher version), 24MB

Supplementary Material (public)
There is no public supplementary material available

Obermeier, W. A., Nabel, J. E. M. S., Loughran, T., Hartung, K., Bastos, A., Havermann, F., et al. (2021). Modelled land use and land cover change emissions - A spatio-temporal comparison of different approaches. Earth System Dynamics, 12, 635-670. doi:10.5194/esd-12-635-2021.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-B9C5-A
Quantifying the net carbon flux from land use and land cover changes (fLULCC) is critical for understanding the global carbon cycle, and hence, to support climate change mitigation. However, large-scale fLULCC is not directly measurable, but has to be inferred from models instead, such as semi-empirical bookkeeping models, and process-based dynamic global vegetation models (DGVMs). By definition, fLULCC estimates are not directly comparable between these two different model types. As an example, DGVM-based fLULCC in the annual global carbon budgets is estimated under transient environmental forcing and includes the so-called Loss of Additional Sink Capacity (LASC). The LASC accounts for the impact of environmental changes on land carbon storage potential of managed land compared to potential vegetation which is not represented in bookkeeping models. In addition, fLULCC from transient DGVM simulations differs depending on the arbitrary chosen simulation time period and the historical timing of land use and land cover changes (including different accumulation periods for legacy effects). An approximation of fLULCC by DGVMs that is independent of the timing of land use and land cover changes and their legacy effects requires simulations assuming constant pre-industrial or present-day environmental forcings. Here, we analyze three DGVM-derived fLULCC estimations for twelve models within 18 regions and quantify their differences as well as climate- and CO2-induced components. The three estimations stem from the commonly performed simulation with transiently changing environmental conditions and two simulations that keep environmental conditions fixed, at pre-industrial and present-day conditions. Averaged across the models, we find a global fLULCC (under transient conditions) of 2.0 ± 0.6 PgC yr-1 for 2009–2018, of which ∼40 % are attributable to the LASC (0.8 ± 0.3 PgC yr-1). From 1850 onward, fLULCC accumulated to 189 ± 56 PgC with 40 ± 15 PgC from the LASC. Regional hotspots of high cumulative and annual LASC values are found in the USA, China, Brazil, Equatorial Africa and Southeast Asia, mainly due to deforestation for cropland. Distinct negative LASC estimates, in Europe (early reforestation) and from 2000 onward in the Ukraine (recultivation of post-Soviet abandoned agricultural land), indicate that fLULCC estimates in these regions are lower in transient DGVM- compared to bookkeeping-approaches. By unraveling spatio-temporal variability in three alternative DGVM-derived fLULCC estimates, our results call for a harmonized attribution of model-derived fLULCC. We propose an approach that bridges bookkeeping and DGVM approaches for fLULCC estimation by adopting a mean DGVM-ensemble LASC for a defined reference period.