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National Assessment of Ecosystem Carbon Sequestration and Greenhouse Gas Fluxes

Spatially Explicit Modeling of Land Use and Land Cover

Changes in land use and land cover (LULC) influence biogeochemical cycles and the carbon and greenhouse gas status of an ecosystem. Since various land activities can affect an ecosystem’s levels of carbon stocks, carbon sequestration, and greenhouse gas (GHG) fluxes, the LandCarbon project will assess an ecosystem’s capacity to increase carbon stocks and reduce greenhouse gas fluxes by looking at changes in land use and land cover (such as converting cropland to forest or grassland) and land management practices (such as tillage practices, cropland irrigation, and forest logging). To assess the possible outcomes of land management in the future, the LandCarbon group will use the Special Report on Emission Scenarios (SRES) as defined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and a spatially explicit LULC modeling framework to project the potential future changes in land use, land cover and land management. To learn more about these scenarios, click here.

In conjunction with the SRES storylines provided by the IPCC, scientists from the LandCarbon project will be able to input data from these scenarios into a spatially explicit model called FORE-SCE. Inputting data from each SRES scenario into FORE-SCE will produce spatially and thematically detailed annual maps of LULC change from 2006 to 2050 for each storyline. In addition to projected changes in 16 different LULC classes, FORE-SCE explicitly models forest-cutting and tracks resultant changes in forest age for a given location.

These spatially explicit maps of potential LULC change over a period of time will serve as input to the General Ensemble Modeling System (GEMS) framework for analysis of biochemical effects of LULC change. These analyses will allow us to evaluate the potential effectiveness of LULC mitigation activities for increasing biological sequestration of carbon and limiting other greenhouse gas fluxes.


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Sleeter, B.M., Sohl, T.L., Bouchard, M., Reker, R., Sleeter, R.R., and Sayler, K.L., 2011, Scenarios of land use and land cover change in the conterminous United States: Utilizing the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios at ecoregional scales: Global Environmental Change (submitted).

Sohl, T.L. and Sayler, K.L., 2008, Using the FORE-SCE model to project land-cover change in the southeastern United States: Ecological Modelling v. 219, p. 49-65.

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