Biogenic carbon fluxes from global agricultural production and consumption: Gridded, annual estimates of net ecosystem carbon exchange

Thursday, 18 December 2014: 5:30 PM
Julie Wolf1, Tristram O West2, Yannick le Page1 and Allison M Thomson3, (1)Joint Global Change Research Institute, College Park, MD, United States, (2)Joint Global Change Res. Inst., College Park, MD, United States, (3)Joint Global Change Research Institute, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, College Park, MD, United States
Quantification of biogenic carbon fluxes from agricultural lands is needed to generate globally consistent bottom-up estimates for carbon monitoring and model input. We quantify agricultural carbon fluxes associated with annual (starting in 1961) crop net primary productivity (NPP), harvested biomass, and human and livestock consumption and emissions, with estimates of uncertainty, by applying region- and species-specific carbon parameters to annual crop, livestock, food and trade inventory data, and generate downscaled, gridded (0.05 degree resolution) representations of these fluxes.

In 2011, global crop NPP was 5.25 ± 0.46 Pg carbon (excluding root exudates), of which 2.05 ± 0.051 Pg carbon was harvested as primary crops; an additional 0.54 Pg of crop residue carbon was collected for livestock fodder. In 2011, total livestock feed intake was 2.42 ± 0.21 Pg carbon, of which 2.31 ± 0.21 Pg carbon was emitted as carbon dioxide and 0.072 ± 0.005 Pg carbon was emitted as methane. We estimate that livestock grazed 1.18 Pg carbon from non-crop lands in 2011, representing 48.5 % of global total feed intake. In 2009, the latest available data year, we estimate global human food intake (excluding seafood and orchard fruits and nuts) at 0.52 ± 0.03 Pg carbon, with an additional 0.24 ± 0.01 Pg carbon of food supply chain losses. Trends in production and consumption of agricultural carbon between 1961 and recent years, such as increasing dominance of oilcrops and decreasing percent contribution of pasturage to total livestock feed intake, are discussed, and accounting of all agricultural carbon was done for the years 2005 and 2009. Gridded at 0.05 degree resolution, these quantities represent local uptake and release of agricultural biogenic carbon (e.g. biomass production and removal, residue and manure inputs to soils) and may be used with other gridded data to help estimate current and future changes in soil organic carbon.