The effects of land use and management on the global carbon cycle

Houghton, R. A.; Joos, Fortunat; Asner, Gregory P. (2004). The effects of land use and management on the global carbon cycle. In: Gutman, Garik; Janetos, Anthony C.; Justice, Christopher O.; Moran, Emilio F.; Mustard, John F.; Rindfuss, Ronald R.; Skole, David; Turner, Billy Lee; Cochrane, Mark A. (eds.) Land Change Science : Observing, Monitoring and Understanding Trajectories of Change on the Earth's Surface. Remote Sensing and Digital Image Processing: Vol. 6 (pp. 237-256). Springer 10.1007/978-1-4020-2562-4_14

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Major uncertainties in the global carbon (C) balance and in projections of atmospheric CO2 include the magnitude of the net flux of C between the atmosphere and land and the mechanisms responsible for that flux. A number of approaches, both top-down and bottom-up, have been used to estimate the net terrestrial C flux, but they generally fail to distinguish possible mechanisms. In contrast, calculations of C-fluxes based on landuse statistics yield both an estimate of flux and its attribution, that is, land-use change. A comparison of the flux calculated from land-use change with estimates of the changes in terrestrial C storage defines a residual terrestrial C sink flux of up to 3 PgC yr-1, usually attributed to the enhancement of growth through environmental changes (for example, CO2 fertilization, increased availability of N, climatic change). We explore whether management (generally not considered in analyses of land-use change), instead of environmental changes, might account for the residual sink flux. We are unable to answer the question definitively. Large uncertainties in estimates of terrestrial C fluxes from top-down analyses and land-use statistics prevent any firm conclusion for the tropics. Changes in land use alone might explain the entire terrestrial sink if changes in management practices, not considered in analyses of land-use change, have created a sink in the northern mid-latitudes.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)


08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Climate and Environmental Physics

UniBE Contributor:

Joos, Fortunat


500 Science > 530 Physics






Remote Sensing and Digital Image Processing






BORIS Import 2

Date Deposited:

12 Jul 2022 12:11

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:54

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