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National Assessment of Ecosystem Carbon Sequestration and Greenhouse Gas Fluxes

Future Land Use and Land Cover Scenarios

To study potential changes in land use, land cover and land management in the future United States, the LandCarbon project has incorporated probable scenarios as defined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which lists major driving forces of future emissions, including changes in demographic, technological and economical developments. These scenarios, defined within the Special Report on Emission Scenarios (SRES), are separated into four scenarios, A1, A2, B1 and B2, which were categorized by considering changes in economic and environmental priorities, as well as regional versus global development.

To be able to incorporate these scenario assumptions into the LandCarbon methodology and to produce nationally and regionally unique future potential land use and land cover scenarios, data on historical land-cover change from the USGS Trends project and information derived from a global integrated assessment model were used in conjunction with expert analysis to 1) downscale SRES narrative storylines to national and sub-national scales, and 2) develop quantitative regional projections of LULC change for major land-use sectors of the conterminous United States. Results of this process are a set of quantitative future scenarios for specific land use and land cover classes, unique at the both national and regional scales. We are working on publications of these results.


Nakicenovic, Nebojsa, Alcamo, Joseph, Davis, Gerald, de Vries, Bert, Fenhann, Joergen, Gaffin, Stuart, Gregory, Kenneth, Grubler, ARnulf, Jung, T.Y., Kram, Tom, La Rovere, E.L., Michaelis, Laurie, Mori, Shunsuke, Morita, Tsuneyuki, Pepper, William, Pitcher, Hugh, Price, Lynn, Riahi, Keywan, Roehrl, Alexander, Rogner, H.H. Sankovski, Alexei, Schlesinger, Michael, Shukla, Priyararshi, Smith, Steven, Swart, Robert, van Rooijen, Sascha, Victor, Nadejda, and Dadi, Zhou, 2000, Special report on emissions scenarios; A special report of Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC]: Cambridge, UK, Cambridge University Press, 599 p., available at

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007, Climate change 2007 [--Fourth assessment report (AR4) of the IPCC]: Cambridge, UK, Cambridge University Press, The AR4 synthesis report and 3 v. (The physical science basis, by Working Group I; Impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability, by Working Group II; Mitigation of climate change, by Working Group III), available at

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