alexa Land-use and carbon cycle responses to moderate climate change: implications for land-based mitigation?
Geology & Earth Science

Geology & Earth Science

Journal of Earth Science & Climatic Change

Author(s): Humpender F, , Popp A, Stevanovic M, ,

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Abstract Climate change has impacts on agricultural yields, which could alter cropland requirements and hence deforestation rates. Thus, land-use responses to climate change might influence terrestrial carbon stocks. Moreover, climate change could alter the carbon storage capacity of the terrestrial biosphere and hence the land-based mitigation potential. We use a global spatially explicit economic land-use optimization model to (a) estimate the mitigation potential of a climate policy that provides economic incentives for carbon stock conservation and enhancement, (b) simulate land-use and carbon cycle responses to moderate climate change (RCP2.6), and (c) investigate the combined effects throughout the 21st century. The climate policy immediately stops deforestation and strongly increases afforestation, resulting in a global mitigation potential of 191 GtC in 2100. Climate change increases terrestrial carbon stocks not only directly through enhanced carbon sequestration (62 GtC by 2100) but also indirectly through less deforestation due to higher crop yields (16 GtC by 2100). However, such beneficial climate impacts increase the potential of the climate policy only marginally, as the potential is already large under static climatic conditions. In the broader picture, this study highlights the importance of land-use dynamics for modeling carbon cycle responses to climate change in integrated assessment modeling. This article was published in Environ Sci Technol and referenced in Journal of Earth Science & Climatic Change

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