Integrated Assessment of Climate Change, Agricultural Land Use, and Regional Carbon Changes

Monday, 15 December 2014
Jianhong MU, Postdoc Scholar, Applied Economics, Corvallis, OR, United States
Changes in land use have caused a net release of carbon to the atmosphere over the last centuries and decades1. On one hand, agriculture accounts for 52% and 84% of global anthropogenic methane and nitrous oxide emissions, respectively. On the other hand, many agricultural practices can potentially mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the most prominent of which are improved cropland and grazing land management2. From this perspective, land use change that reduces emissions and/or increases carbon sequestration can play an important role in climate change mitigation.

As shown in Figure 1, this paper is an integrated study of climate impacts, land uses, and regional carbon changes to examine, link and assess climate impacts on regional carbon changes via impacts on land uses. This study will contribute to previous research in two aspects: impacts of climate change on future land uses under an uncertain future world and projections of regional carbon dynamics due to changes in future land use. Specifically, we will examine how land use change under historical climate change using observed data and then project changes in land use under future climate projections from 14 Global Climate Models (GCMs) for two emission scenarios (i.e., RCP4.5 and RCP8.5). More importantly, we will investigate future land use under uncertainties with changes in agricultural development and social-economic conditions along with a changing climate. By doing this, we then could integrate with existing efforts by USGS land-change scientists developing and parameterizing models capable of projecting changes across a full spectrum of land use and land cover changes and track the consequences on ecosystem carbon to provide better information for land managers and policy makers when informing climate change adaptation and mitigation policies.